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MEMOIRS U SEP -.9 1931 

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Calvinum assldue comltata modestla vlvum. 
Hoc corde manibus finxerat ipsa suis 

Ipsa a quo potuit virtutem discere virtus : 
Roma, tuus terror maximus iUe fuit. 



ffah & JFlosmer, Printers, Hartford, Conn. 



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'^ SEAL, > ^ ^ IT REMEMBERED, That on the first day of July, 

i .. C in the thirty-seventh year of the Independence of the 

' '"^***'^'* J United States of America, ELIJAH WATERMAN, of 

said district, hath deposited in this office the title of a 

book, the right whereof he claims as author, in the words following-— 

' o wit : 

"^lemoirs of the Life and Writings of John Calvin : together with a se- 
irction of Letters, written by him and other distinguished Reformers : Al- 
so, Notes and Biograpliical Sketches of some of his Cotemporaries. Com- 
piled by the Kev. Elijah Waterm A^-, Pastor of the Presbyterian Church 
in Bridgeport." 

Ill conformity to an act of the Congress of the United States, entitled 
''An Act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of 
Maps, Charts and Books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, 
during the times therein mentioned." And the act of Congress of the U-iit- 
rd States, entitled " An Act, supplementary to the act, entitled An Act for 
the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts and 
Books, during the times therein mentioned; and extending the benefits 
thereof to the arts of Designing, Engraving and Etchmg Historical and oth- 
er Prints." 

Clerk of the District of Connecticut. 
\ true copy of record, examined and sealed by me, 

Clerk of the District of Connectiait^ 


Page 1. Note, read Tractatus Theologici Calvioi. 

1 6. Bottom line, for 26th read 20th . 

1 9. Note, for the second Epistolis read Epistola. 

20. Line 9 from bottom, read 1534. 
20. Note, for Bern read Buren. 

35. Note, for April 7tli read April 17th. 

.?8. Line 5, read 1540. 

.)!. Line 10, for awaken read weaken. 

106. Line 7, for re.ison read reasons, 

l.n. Note, line 6, ibr September read August. 

181. Line 3 from bottom, for Ecclesiar.tibus read Ecclcsiasticis. 

188. Line 15, read, to continue stedfast in their sufferings. 

9^. Under Extract No. 2, the mark ot quotation should have been 

ait before the w ord Nothing, at line 4. 


A HE following Memoirs have respect to a pe- 
riod highly interesting in the annals of the Christian 
Church, and are designed to exhibit the character of 
one of the most successful Reformers. The delinea- 
tion of the features of a mind of ascendant powers, 
pressed with difficulties and invincible in advancing 
the best good of man, becomes interesting and in- 
structive, in proportion as the details are complete, 
impartial and authentick. In the pursuit of this ob- 
ject, the compiler has omitted no means, and spared 
no labour, which his limited time and talents would 
enable him to apply. 

The Letters and Prefatory Epistles of Calvin furnish 
a great proportion of those facts which Theodore Be- 
za has collected in his life of this Reformer. In these 
Mem^oirs the writer has preserved his own method, 
and stated the facts without any special regard to the 
style of the authors from whom they arc compiled. 
In those instances where reference is not made to the 
authorities, the materials of the narrative are chiefly 
from the writings of Calvin, or from his life by Beza. 
While he feels himself responsible to the publick for 
the correctness of the history, and the faithfulness of 
the translation of the Letters, he is flu' from presuming- 


that he has not fallen into errours, either from his own 
inattention or the incorrectness of his guides. 

The original plan has been extended, and the labour 
bestowed upon the compilation is much greater than 
was at first proposed. A necessity, arising from cir- 
cumstances which it would be useless to detail, has 
precluded the opportunity of that more severe revision 
of the work, which the compiler would most cheerful- 
ly have attempted, in order to have rendered it more 
worthy of the extensive patronage it has received. 

In making a selection from the numerous Letters of 
Calvin and others, he has been desirous of producing 
those which he believed would best illustrate the events 
of the life and the moral qualities of the mind of Cal- 
vin. Written from the impulse of the moment, and 
in the confidence of friendship, they are the index of 
his heart, and fi rigorous testimony, that his talents 
were profound, his labours immense, and his influence, 
in the Reformation, commensurate with both. 

The compiler cheerfully acknowledges his obliga- 
tion to several gentlemen for their obliging generosi- 
ty in supplying him with rare and valuable books, by 
which he has been enabled to bring before the patrons 
of the work, new and correct information, concerning 
Calvin, the Reformers and the Reformation itself. 

Bridgeport, March 1, 1813. 

31 E M O I R S 





John CALVIN was bom at Noyon in Picardy, a pro 
vince of France, July 10th, A. D. 1509. His parents, Gerard 
Chauvin and Joanna le Franc, were in respectable circum- 
stances and of virtuous and unblemished reputation.^ They 
possessed the esteem of many of the nobility in their neigh- 
bourhood, and were favoured with the privilege of liberally 
educating their son in the family of Mommor, one of the mos^ 
distinguished in that province. In this noble family, Calvin 
received the discipline of childhood and the rudiments of lite- 
rature.f With the children of this nobleman, his father sent 
him to Paris, for the more favourable prosecution of his stu- 
dies. Under the instruction of the learned Mathurin Cordier,t 
Principal of the College of la Marche, he laid the foundation 
of that correct knowledge of the Latin language, which ena^ 
bled him eminently to surpass his cotemporaries in writing it 
^vith elegance and ease. 

* Beza de Coena Domini, &c. Oper. Tom. 1. page 257. 

t See tl^e dedication to Claude Hangest, in commentariis Seneca de Cle- 
mentia; Tractatis Theologicis Calvini, ad fincm. Amsterdam edition, 1667 

* See Notes and Biographical sketches in this volume : No. 1. 



From la JMarche, Calvin wa? removed to the College of 
Montaigii. In this seminary, under the instruction of a learn- 
ed Spaniard, he made unusual proficiency, and was distin- 
guished by being advanced from the common exercises of his 
fellcw-students, to those of philosophy and the mathematicks. 
In his boyhood he discovered a devout disposition, in severely 
censuring the vices of his companions. His father viewed 
witli pleasure the grave deportment of his son, and procured 
for him, at tJie age of 12 years, from the Bishop of Noyon, a 
benefice in the Cathedral Church of la Gesine. At this time 
he must have received the tonsure,# the first step towards 
priestly orders in the Church of Rome, of which he was a 
member, and to which his father was now looking for his ad-» 
vancement in wealth and honour. Calvin however was ulti- 
mately introduced to the work of the ministry in a way vastly 
difforent from what his father had devised, and for purposes 
totally foreign from those which his patrons in the Chmxli 
had intended. 

For several years Calvin pursued the study of polite litera- 
ture at Paris. In 1527, he was presented to an additional be- 
nefice, the Rectory of Martville, which, in 1529, he ex- 
changed for the parocliial Curacy of Pont rEvecj[ue,f the 
native place of his father. In this town Calvin sometimes 
prcaclicd, although he belonged to the clergy only by the 
tonsure. Gerard, flattered with tlie distinguished attain- 
ments of hif^ son, and observing liow greatly tlic science of the 
law enriched its professors, suddenly changed his purpose, 
and recalled hhn from the study of philosophy, to that of 
jurisprudence. On this course of studies, Calvin entered re- 
luctantly, and only in obedience to the v/ill of his father. He 
says himself,! that his mind was too strongly addicted to the 

* Sec Notes and Biog'. Xo. 2. 

t Dit lincourt, as quoted by Bayle, Gen. Die. Art. Cal 

■» Srt tetters in this Work, Xo. !► 


superstitions of the Papacy, to be easily drawn from that mire ; 
and his habits too firmly seasoned, to yield with docility to a 
change of studies so unexpected. About this time, he he- 
came acquainted with his kinsman Peter Robert 0]ivetan.# 
This acquaintance was followed by consequences of great mo- 
ment to Calvin and the cause of the Reformation, which ^sa? 
now almost imperceptibly extending its influence in France. 
From that learned and pious man he imbibed his first taste 
for the true doctrines of religion. The dawning of the pure 
light upon his devout mind awakened him to unremitting 
diligence in searching the scriptures. His other studies, for 
which he had no affection, he pursued in a cold and indiifer- 
ent manner. He seized every unoccupied hour for the pri- 
vate perusal of the Bible, till, his mind sickening at the su- 
perstitious errours of Popery, he began to withdraw himself 
from that communion. 

On changing his purpose, as to the profession of his son, 
Gerard placed him at the University of Orleans. And al- 
though Calvin was indijfferent to the study of jurisprudencf^, 
he still made such progress, under the tuition of the learned 
Peter Stella,f that he was invited by tlie professors to supply 
the chair, in their occasional absence. On leaving that I'ni- 
versity, he received, as a testimony of respect, a unanimous and 
gratuitous offer, from the whole faculty, of a doctor's degree. 

Before a year had passed at Orleans, he attracted the at- 
tention of all those, who w^re desirous of the knowledge of 
the true doctrines. Modesty and diffidence were predomi- 
nant qualities of his mind. He was fond of retirement, and 
at this time peculiarly solicitous to be unkjiown. This how- 
ever was so far from being granted him, that all his retreats 
for study were frequented by such numbers as to have the 

* See Notes and Rioj^. No. 3. 

t This distinguislied b.wy-r was afterwards President of the Parriamem 
of Paris. Bayle. 


appearance of a public school. His application to study was 
severe, and his acquirements were ricJi and astonishing. lie 
seldom retired for sleep till the night was far advanced. He 
allowed himself only a few hours for repose, and resumed, in 
his morning meditations, the subject which liad engaged his 
attention the preceding evening. He thus digested and stored 
up in his memory, whatever he apprehended would be valua- 
ble for future application. This practice, continued morning 
by morning, contributed extensively to facilitate his acquisi- 
tion of knowledge, to strengthen his unusual powers of memo- 
ry, and to enlarge the vigorous grasp of liis youthful mind. 

Andrew Alciat, an Italian lawyer, had by his talents given 
a high reputation to the University of Bourges. Calvin was 
removed by his father from Orleans, to attend the lectures of 
this distinguished Professor. The munificence of Francis I. 
in patronizing literary men, had drawn many foreigners into 
France, and among others the learned IMelchior AA^olmar,# 
who was, at this time, Professor of the Greek language, in 
that University. Under his instruction Calvin applied him- 
self to the study of the Greek. Both literature and religion 
combined to form between these two men a strong and dura- 
ble friendship. During his residence at Bourges, Calvin unit- 
ed with his professional studies his researches on theological 
su])ject?, and occasionally preached at Ligniers, a small town 
in the province of Berri, with the permission and sometimes 
in the presence of the Seigneur. The sudden death of his 
father recalled liim from Bourges to the domcstick concerns 
of the family at Noyon.f 

From his native place, Calvin visited Paris, and prepared 
his very learned and elaborate commentary on Seneca's Epis- 
tle de Clcmcntia, Anticipating the progress of the new opi" 

• See Notes and Bio^. No. 4. f Beza, Opera Tom. 1, paj. 237— 
speaking of the mother of Calvin, sa> s— " Honcsdssimam matronam jam 
olim defunctam—I'/iai most viriuom- xvoman lovrr since dcccastd" 

1532 LIFE OF CALVIlSr. 5 

nionSf and the violent persecutions which would be raised to 
suppress every incipient attempt to reform the abuses of the 
Clmrch, he selected, with the provident spirit of a great ge- 
nius, this appropriate subject, and laboured, with much ad- 
dress, to impress on the mind of Francis, the mild and mode- 
rating principles of clemency. # He illustrated and enforced 
the thoughts of that moralist, by an extensive selection of au- 
thorities and examples from the most distinguished Poets and 
Historians of Greece and Rome. It is a specimen of learn- 
ing and eloquence unrivalled as the production of a young 
man at the age of tv/enty-two year?. 

The dedication of this work to Claude Hangest, Abbot of 
St. Kloi at Noyon, one of the family of Mommor, bears date 
at Paris, April 4th, 1532. As it was Avritten in Latin, the 
author of course latinized his own name, Cauvin, by Calvinus* 
Cauvin in the dialect of Picardy, his native province, and 
Chauvin in French,* have the same import as Calvinm in La- 
tin. This work was extensively circulated, and the author 
became known by the common appellation of Calvin, which he 
afterwards retained as the surname of his family .f 

During a few months residence at Paris, Calvin became 
acquainted with the principal advocates of the pure 
doctrines. Among these he especially distinguished Stephen 
de la Forge,J a celebrated merchant, who was afterwards 
burnt for the name of Christ. Being left free at this time to 
make his own election of pursuits in life, Calvin laid aside 

* Varillas Hist, of Francis I. as quoted by Bayle. 

•j: Calvin has been captiously censured by his enemies, for iLe change. 

of a letter in his name. Eut tlie censure equally falls upon Erasmus,, 

Luther, Melancthon — and almost every author of any distinction in that 

period. Dupin Eccles. Hist. Cent. 16. book 3, p. 255 ; and Maim- 

bourg and Drelincourt, in Ba^le. — Art. Cal. 

\ He is mentioned by Calvin with the distinction of a martyr in hlB 
Tract against the iiierimeff.— — -Opuscula Calvini, p. 376. 


his legal studies, and devoted hiriLsclf to the cause of reli- 
gion. This gave high satiFfaction to the friends of the Re- 
formation, ^vho tlien lield their private assemblies at Paris. 
In these he was active in illustrating and confirming the ge- 
nuine doctrines of the Bible. 

On the first of November, Nicholas Cop, Rector of the 
University of Paris, delivered a discourse, at the meeting for 
the annual celebration of the festival of All Saints.^ At the 
f;uggestion of Calvin, the Rector treated concerning the su- 
perstitions of that day, with a plainness which offended the 
Doctors of the Sorbonne and the Parliament of Paris. The 
Rector ^vas summoned to appear before the Senate. He sur- 
rendered himself to the officer ; but on his way he was ad- 
monished by his friends not to trust himself with his adver- 
saries. He returned home, and sul)6equently retired to Ba- 
sil^ his native City.f 

Calvin being implicated in this business, w^as next pursued 
by IMorin, who hasted to his lodgings in the College of For- 
tret, to seize his person. At this time Calvin was providen- 
tially absent ; but Morin secured his papers, among which 
were several letters from his friends, whose lives by this event 
^vc^c exposed to imminent danger. 

The minds of the inquisitorial judges were so highly ex- 
asperated against the Reformers, that their severity was on- 
ly arrested by the interference of Margaret de Valois, Queen 
«f Navarre. J This Princess was the only sister of Francis I. 
Possessed of strong powers of mind, and an amiable temper, 
she was eminently qualified, both by the dignity of her sta- 

* The oi\^ln of All Saints day. — When the Saints in the Church of 

Home had muhiplicd beyond tlic number of the days of the year the 

first of November vvas consecrated with due ceremonies to honour— P«- 
'n^ia. All tU Suints. Rccs' Cyclopaedia— .Vrt. AH Saints.. 

I See Letters, No. 2. 
S«e Xofes ami Bro». No. 5. 


tion and the purity of her prhiciple?, to afford a powerful 
protection to the persecuted Reformers. At tlie very side of 
the throne, her enlightened soul penetrated the dark cover- 
ings which the arts of superstition had thrown before the 
esyes of royalty. She early cherished, with an affectionate 
licart, the dawning hght of the true doctrines and pure a\ or- 
ship of God. In this persecution she extended her favour 
to Calvin ; sent for him to her palace ; received him with 
kindness ; heard him discourse ; and used her influence with 
the king for his personal safety. 

From Paris, Calvin retired to Saintonge, to visit his friend 
Lewis du Tillet, Canon of Angouleme. Their acquaintance 
commenced at the University of Orleans. Calvin, during his 
residence in this respectable family, instructed Tillet in the 
Greek language, and in the pure doctrines of the gospel. 
He drew up, at his request, some short Christian exhorta- 
tions, which were publickly read in the Church and distri- 
buted among the people, in order to bring their minds, by 
degrees, to an enquiry after the truth. 

From Saintonge, Calvin went to Nerac, in the province o£ 
Aquitain, to visit James Faber, Stapulensis, Professor in the 
University of Paris. ^ The Queen of Navarre had rescued, 
after a severe contest, this early Reformer out of the hands 
of the Inquisitors of the Sorbonne, who tlu'eatened his life 
for having agitated theological questions in that seminary. 
She provided for his security and support in Nerac, a town 
within her own jurisdiction. This venerable old man re- 
ceived young Calvin with joy, and predicted that he would 
be the instrument, in the handis of God, of establishing the 
true religion in France. 

Calvin returned to Paris, and with much caution secreted 
himself from the rage of his enemies, who still rememlicrcd 

* See Notes and Blog. No. 6. 


ihc abuse Avhicli by his means had been oiiered to their 
tSaints. At this time, Michel Seivetus had commenced the 
dissemination of his opinions concerning the doctrine of the 
holy Trinity. He requested an interview uith Calvin, for a 
pubhck di.'^putation. The latter, at the manifest liazard of 
his Hfe, re])aired to the appointed place, and waited a long 
time in vain for tlie arrival of his antagonist. 

Francis, under the infhiencc of his sister, appeared disposed 
to treat the Reformers with moderation. He had from politi- 
cal motives, at least, favoured the Lutherans in Germany, 
and even invited I^Ielancthon to reside at Paris. This mo- 
deration excited the resentment of the Pope, and the preju- 
dices of many of his own subjects, who were anxious to root 
up every germ of the Reformation, by the severest means. 
Alarmed by the threats of the Pope, and the virulence of his 
adherents, Francis was prepared to take any occasion to re- 
trieve the confidence of the Papists, and strengthen himself 
against his rival Charles V. " The indiscreet zeal of some, 
who had imbibed the reformed opinions, furnished him with 
such an occasion as he desired. They had affixed at the 
gates of the palace, and other publick places, papers con- 
taining indecent reflections on the doctrines and rites of the 
Popish Church." Gerard Roussel, a doctor of the Sorbonne, 
and Coraud, a ]\Ionk of the order of Augustine, who liad, 
through the influence of the Queen of Navarre, for two 
years pul)lickly preached the true doctrines in Paris, were 
now seized in their pulpits and thrown into prison.-^ The 
King, infatuated a\ ith rage at this insult, decreed a publick 
procession. " Tlic holy sacrament was carried through the 
city in great pomp. Francis walked uncovered before it, 
bearing a lighted torch in his hand ; the princes of the blood 
supported the canopy over it ; the nobles marched in order 

• See Notes and Biog. No. 7. 


behind. In the presence of this numerous assembly, the 
King, in strong and animated language, declared that if one 
of his hands were infected with heresy, he would cut it off 
with the other, and would not spare even his own children 
if found guilty of that crime."# To finish the proof of his 
zeal for the Romish Church, he ordered eiglit of the Re- 
formers to be burnt alive, in four of the most frequented 
parts of the city. The sentence was executed, with all the 
torture of the most ferocious barbarity. 

After these transactions, Calvin, steady to his purpose, took 
a more decided stand in the cause of the Reformation. He 
publickly renounced all fellowship with the Romish Church, 
by resigning, on the 4th of May, 1534, the benefices of the 
Chapel of la Gesine and the Rectory of Pont I'Eveque.f 
By a covert conduct, he might have still enjoyed the annual 
emolument of these livings under tlie Papacy. In throw- 
ing himself, therefore, poor and unpatronized, upon the hand 
of his Divine IMaster, he demonstrated the firmness of his 
principles, and the ])urity of his motives. Retiring to Or- 
leans, the place of his more youthful studies and devotions, 
he prepared and published a scriptural and elaborate con- 
futation of an errour revived from ancient times. That the 
soul sleeps from death, to the resurrection of the body. This 
treatise! is a proof, that the author, at the age of 25, ^^ as 
intimately acquainted with the divine scriptures and the 
tvorks of the Fathers ; that his studies must have been labo- 
rious, his memory strong, and his intellect clear and com- 

* Robertson's Charles V. B. 6, p. Ill, and 112.-Mosheim, Vol. 3. p. 
351.— -Dupin.— 16 Cent. 

t Drelincoiirt—quoted by Bayle. 

% It was entitled Psychopannychid^ThQ dedication to a cerhiih frientl 

j» dated Orlean.^, 1534 Opuscula Calvini, p. 335. 


10 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1534 

The Reformation commenced at Basil in 1525, and iU 
proiprees opened a safe retreat for Cop, the Rector of the 
University of Paris. To this city Calvin now looked for per- 
gonal safety, and a retirement for study, -which his own 
country denied him. In company a\ itli his friend Lewis du 
Tilict, he proceeded on his way from Orleans to Basil 
through Lorraine. Near Metz, one of the servants taking 
their money escaped with a horse, and left them embarrass- 
ed without the means of proceeding. By tlie assistance of 
the other servant, ho-v\xver, who had ten crowns, they arriv- 
ed at Strashurg, and "v\ ithout farther difiiculty reached Ba- 
sil. In this toAvn resided those early Reformers, Simon Gry- 
neus and Wolfgang Capito. With these ministers Calvin 
formed an intimate and permanent friendship. In close re- 
tirement, and almost unknown, he applied himself to the stu- 
dy of the Hebrew, the know ledge of \\hich language had 
become important to enable him more effectually to advance 
the cause of religion. 

The o])jcct of Francis, in burning those Reformers at Pa- 
ris, was to conciliate Paul III., and detach him from the in- 
terest of Charles V., against whom he was at this time de- 
termined to declare war. No less intrigue w^as used in the 
labours of du Bellay, who was sent ambassadour into Germa- 
ny, to appease the indignation of the Protestants, which the 
cruelty of Francis had excited against him. The courtly 
art and eloquence of this minister Avere exerted to persuade 
them, that the king had only burnt some Anabaptists, who 
had substituted their own inspirations for the word of God, 
and who abusively trampled on the la-ws, and excited insur- 
rection against the magistracy. This pretext it was expect- 
ed would be a sullicient defence, as that sect had rendered 
themselves extremely odious by their excesses to the sober 
and pious in Germany. This representation was therefore 
made by Francis, to divert the resentment of the Protestants 

1535 LlFK OF CALVIN. li 

from himself, and to cherish their jealousy against his im- 
perial rival. Calvin well understood the hypocritical pro- 
ceedings of the King, and the flagrant insult *^^ hich as as thus 
oifered to the memory of the Reformers Mho Mere burnt at 
Paris. Constrained by an imperious sense of duty, to make 
known to the Protestant princes, that the Reformer's of France 
were evangelical in their doctrines, and pure in their pur- 
poses, Calvin published at Basil, -^ The Institutes of the 
Christian Religion. The preface addressed to Francis I. 
is a masterly production, unrivalled for force of argument, 
classick purity, and persuasive eloquence. 

The management of Bellay, and " the wicked and false 
pamphlets" which were dispersed among the Germans, m- 
stead of abating, increased their resentment against Francis, 
as they became informed of the true state of the case. The' 
Elector of Saxony, and the other confederate princes, not on- 
ly refused him their assistance, but aided the Emperour who 
had, from motives of policy, refrained from using any vio- 
lence against the dij-semination of their doctrines. From the 
same cause they prevented Melancthon from visiting the 
French Court, although he discovered a strong inclination to 
comply with tlie plausible but deceptive invitation of the 

Clement Marot, a poet of considerable distinction,! being 
represented by the Papists as one of those who prepared and 
affixed the placards to the door of the palace, was l^rought 
into discredit with Francis. Finding that they had seized 

♦ See Letters No. 1.— Most editions now have the date August 1, 1536. 
Mr. Bayle, who examined the subject, is decidedly of opinion that tlie first 
edition was at Basil, August 1, 1535. Calvin's own statement accords with 
this date. And it appears that the custom of book-sellers was, to put the 

date of the next year to a work printed oft' toward the end of August 

Bayle, Art. Flacius. Dupin says, that the first edition was printed at Ba- 
sil, 1535. Eccl. Hist. 16th Cent. p. 182. 

t See Notes and Biog. No. 8. 

i2 LIFE OF CALVIN. 153^ 

his boob, and were in pursuit of liis person, he left Blois, and 
sought protection at Beam, under his former patroness, the 
Queen of Navarre. IVIarot, still apprehensive of danger from 
tlie virulence of his enemies, retired into Italy to the court 
of the Princess of Renee, Duchess of Ferrara.# This Prin- 
cess Avas daughter of Lewis XII. and cousin to the amiable 
I\Iargaret de Yalois. She had imbibed the principles of the 
Reformers, and was eminently distinguished for her virtue, 
learn!ng and uniform piety. The reputation of Renee ex- 
cited the attention of Calvin, and after the publication of his 
Institutes, he went into Italy to visit this illustrious woman. 
Slie received him witli kmdness, and listened to his instruc- 
tions, by which he confirmed her more strongly in the true 
doctrines of the gospel. She continued for thirty years, till 
the close of life,+ to be a nursing mother to the reformed 
Church. The exalted opinion which she formed of Calvin 
Wcis testified by the respect uniformly shown him in her let- 
ters Avhile he lived ; and after his decease, she gave proof of 
her grateful attachment to his memory. The Duke of Fer- 
rara was a Papist, and circumstances made it expedient for 
the Duchess to be reserved on those doctrines, which she 
faithfully cherished in her heart. Calvin spent but a short 
time in Italy, and returned to France, to settle his pecunia- 
ry concerns at Noyon. To avoid the prevailing persecu- 
cution, he resolved to retire, with his only surviving bro- 
ther, Anthony Calvin^ and establish his residence at Basil or 
Strasburg, that he might pursue his studies in quiet seclu- 

The Emperour, instead of waiting for Francis to com- 
mence the war which he had threatened, marched his troops 

• The placards were posted on the door of tlie palace in November, 
1534. — The procession, mass, and burning of tlie eight Reformers, was in 
Januar)', 1535. About this time Marot went to Fcrrara.— — Bayle. 

•^ Sec Kotes and Biog. No. 9- 


into France m May, 1536. The direct road leading from 
France to Strasburg was by this means obstructed. Calviu 
with his brother changed their route, and passed through 
the borders of Savoy, and, by the guiding hand of Trovi- 
dence, came to Geneva. 

Geneva, though formerly an imperial city, had for some 
years been under the immediate government of the Bishop, 
who had the title of Prince of the town and adjacent coun- 
try. The Dukes of Savoy had long contended witli th& 
Bishop of Geneva for the government of that city. The 
form of its internal constitution was purely republican. The 
people annually elected four Syndicks, twenty-five Senators, 
and a Council of two hundred, for the management of their 
publick affairs. The citizens, who were attached to the po- 
pular form of their government, had always been firm in 
their opposition to those who supported the episcopal or 
ducal prerogatives. 

In 1532, William Farel visited Geneva, and preached the 
reformed doctrines with considerable success. But, in conse- 
quence of the powerful opposition of the Grand Vicar and 
the Popish party, he was obliged to retire. The instructions 
however of Farel inspired the friends of the popular govern- 
ment with a bolder spirit of enterprise, and a warmer zeal 
for the defence of their civil rights. The Duke and the Bish- 
op, being from prejudice and political interest alike violent in 
their opposition to the Reformation, induced of course all the 
friends of the pure doctrines to unite with those who were ar- 
dent in defending their elective privileges. Their love of li- 
berty and zeal for their religion, strengthened by every selfish 
passion, gave fresh vigour to their efiforts, and in their success- 
ive contests they made substantial advances to their object.— 
The Duke and the Bishop dropped their contending claims', 
ajid from policy united their strength against the common 
epemy. In 1534, the Duke attacked tliem as rebels, by sm^ 

14 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1536 

prise. The Bishop, at the same time, to divest them of the 
rights of humanity, excommunicated them for apostacy and 
sacrilege. They despised the censures of Ihe latter, and bold- 
ly defended themselves against the inhuman attack of the 
former. The Bishop, after having excited the hatred of the 
Duke of Savoy by his weakness and duplicity, and the indig- 
nation of the citizens ])y his vices and Papal censure*^, made a 
precipitate retreat from Geneva. The zealous and decided 
Farel was immediately invited to return ; and together with 
the amiable Viret commenced, with more ell'ect, his evangel- 
ical labours. The Genevese, in these successful struggles, 
were assisted by the Canton of Bern ; and Francis I., who 
supported or destroyed the Reformers, as his political interest 
dictated, sent them secret supplies. They defeated the Duke 
of Savoy, extended their authority over the neighbouring cas- 
tles, and eventually established their independence on the re* 
pubJicem basis. This free and independent city progressed, 
under the benign influence of the reformed doctrines, to a de- 
gree of consideration, wealth and influence, which was for a 
long period of momentous import to the civil and religious 
concerns of Europe. -*; 

Fhished \\ ith victory, and animated with the pleasing ex- 
pectations of independence and liberty, the citizens of Giine- 
va yielded with unquaJified promptness to the counsels of 
Farel and Viret. In 1535, in a full assembly of the people, 
they ol)tained the abolition of the Papal authority, and the 
adoption of the doctrines and worship of the reformed 
Churches. IMany however consented to a change in their re- 
ligious forms, from interest or necessity, who were still, 
through ignorance and habit, strongly attached to the super- 
stitions of Popory. The Popish corruptions and prejudiccF, 
the materials for subsequent tumults and factions, were at 

• Dupln Eccl. Hist. 16 Cent. p. 179. Robert. Ch. V. Vol. 5, p. 117. 

Jlces* Cyclop xd. Art. Geneva 


this time ratlier checked than destroyed. A revolution in go- 
vemment and religion, eJiected so suddenly, could not at 
once be followed, under any new structure which might be 
raised, with stability and order. 

Such was the state of things at Geneva when Calvin and 
his brother arrived to refresh themselves and lodge for a sin- 
gle night. An acquaintance of his immediately made him 
known to Farel. This bold and zealous Reformer, feeling 
deeply interested in, the success of the cause at Geneva, used 
every persuasive method to retain him. Farel, finding how- 
ever that Calvin's object 'v\ as to devote himself to private and 
retired studies, and that he prevailed nothing by entreaty to 
divert him from this determined purpose, said in the strong 
language of imprecation, I declare to you, in the name of Al- 
miglity God, if under the pretext of love to your studies, you re- 
fuse to unite your labours nith ours in the work of the Lord, the 
Lord will curse you in your retirement, as seeking your otm 
will and not his.— Awed by this denunciation, Calvin gave 
over the prosecution of his journey to Strasburg, and yielded 
to the will of the Presbytery and of the Magistrates, By their 
suffrages, with the concurrence of the people, he was not only 
chosen Preacher (which he at first refused) ; but was also elect- 
ed Professor of sacred literature, which he accepted, in the 
month of August, 1536. # Calvin, being conscious of his bash- 
fulness and timidity declined at first to pledge himself to per- 
form the duties of the ministerial office.f In his letter to Sa- 
dolet, he says — Doctoris primum, dcinde Pastoris muncre in 
Ecclesia ilia functus sum. — ^uod eamprovinciam susccpi, legiti- 
mcefuisse vocatio?7is jure meo contendo. — I discharged frst the 
office of Professor, and afterwards that of Pastor in that Ckurch, 
— / contend that I accepted of that charge having the avthoritfj 
of a lawful vocation."^ 

* A literal translation from Bcza. -j- See Letters No. 1 and 3. 

\ Opuscula Calvini p. J 05. Respensio ad S.idoletum. See Notes aiid 
Bio^.Xo. 9 

16 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1537 

Aboiil this time the Genevese formed an alliance Avith the 
city of Bern, ^hich aiTorded them a mutual support against 
their enemies. The city of Lausanne, also, after a pubiick 
disputation, between the Papists and the Reformers, at w hich 
Calvin was present, accedeil to the worship and doctrine of 
the Reformed Churches. 

The first object of Calvin's attention at Geneva was to 
publish a Formula of doctrines, and a short Catechism dis- 
tributed into questions and answers, adapted to the state of 
tlie Genevese Church, on its first emerging from the delu- 
sions of Popery. 

Calvin, at this time, entered with Farel and Coraud on 
the duties of his pastoral office, and directed all his efforts to 
advance the purity of the Church. Some of his colleagues^ 
avoided the tumults of the opposition from fear ; while oth- 
ers increased his anxiety by secretly countenancing the fac- 
tious. Farel and Coraud, who were among the first Reformers 
in France, were determined in their labours, and resolutely 
gave him all possible assistance to prepare the minds of the 
people to abjure the Papal authority, and to take an oath of 
adherence to some specified articles of doctrine and disci- 
pline. It can excite no surprise, that a people scarcely eman- 
cipated from Popish superstitions, whose habits had been 
formed under their licentious influence, should furnish ma- 
ny individuals who would strenuously oppose the most whole- 
some restraints of religion. Notwithstanding the opposition of 
those colleagues, who had acted in that Church under the Pop- 
ish polity, on the 26th of July, 1537, the Senate and citizens of 

• These colleagues appear to have been men who had been either 
Priests before the Genevese abjured the Papal forms, or persons educated 
ill tlie loose habits of that corrupt Church. But they could not have been 
colleagues of Calvin, as Beza calls them, imless he had himself 6ec?i ordain- 
ed, Calvin, it seems, held the office of Minister in the first Church of Ge- 
neva. All the f 'hnrchcs in tlmt territory were collccciatc Churches. 


Geneva, preceded by the Recorder, entered the council- 
house, and publickly took the oath of adherence to the pro- 
posed articles of doctrine, and rules of discipline. 

During the period in which Calvin, with Farel and Co- 
raud, were preparing the Formula of worship, the Anabaptists, 
amidst the dissensions which prevailed, took occasion to in- 
crease the difficulties, by attempting to propagate their prin- 
ciples. These being destructive of all religious order and 
civil coercion, were of course adapted to captivate the disaf- 
fected and unruly. Those among the Genevese who were 
the secret adherents of Popery, although opposed to the 
strange notions of that new sect, Avere still however united 
with them in opposing the establishment of the pure doctrines 
and discipline in that Church. Observing those operations, 
Calvin and his faithful colleagues requested to hold a pub- 
lick disputation with the Anabaptists, concerning their opi- 
nions. On the 18th of March, 1537, the dispute was held in 
a full assembly of the people. The Anabaptists were so com- 
pletely confuted by the testimony of the scriptures, that they 
left Geneva which was rarely visited afterwards by any of that 
obtrusive sect. 

At the same time, a certain Peter Caroli, who had been ex- 
pelled from the school of the Sorbonne at Paris, came to Ge- 
neva. He assumed the pompous title of a Bishop, pursued 
by the inquisition of Paris for having advocated the true doc- 
trines. His poverty and imposture being detected and ex- 
posed, he was refused the ministerial fellowship which at first 
Calvin and his colleagues were disposed to grant him. En- 
raged at this repulse, he became the easy tool of the factious. 
Relying on the clandestine assistance of some of the principal 
leaders of the disaiiected, he obtruded himself upon a busi- 
ness which a judicious mind would have discovered must ul- 
timately terminate in defeat and disgrace. The following ex- 
tract of Calvin's letter to Gryneus, Minister at Basil, will fur- 


:J8 life of CALVIN. 1537 

nii^li a su/Ticient statement of the conduct of Caroli in his ac- 
cusations against Calvin, Farcl and Viret, and its issue in the 
Synod at Lausanne : — 

<^ Calvin to Gryneus. 

." When we heard ourselves impeach- 
ed by Caroli of the heresy of Arius, and then of that of Sa- 
bellius, it did not much disturb us, as our ears had become 
seasoned to sucli calumnies, and "sve entertained the confi- 
dent expectation, that it would presently vanish into smoke. 
By openly denying the charges, we did all that was imme- 
diately in our power. This was abundantly sufficient to sa- 
tisfy all persons of religion and integrity. Our Catechism 
was written a little before this time, and published in French. 
In this we testified, that — The Father, Son and Spirit, 
ivcre embraced in the One Essence of God ; and we so dis- 
tinguished one from the other, as to leave no room for per- 
verse suspicions. We taught, for instance, that Christ was 
the true and natural Son of God, nho had possessed one Di- 
viNiiT with the Father from eternity ; that, in the appointed 
time, He had taken our flesh for our redemption, — But when 
this outrageous man still persisted, we requested that a con- 
vention of ^Ministers should be granted us, from the whole 
Canton of Bern, that we might before them defend our inno- 
cence. Tlie brethren of the French language were first as- 
sembled at Lausanne, and with them were also sent two 
Senators and two JMinisters of Bern. Equipped to sup- 
port the accusation with the precaution of a Lawyer, Ca- 
roli came a\ ith his satchel of papers. In our refutation, we 
so exhausted his whole bundle of evidence, that there was 
not the least suspicion remaining on the minds of the Coun- 
cil, who judged our confession to be most pious and holy. — 
Wc were acquitted by the decision of the Synod, not only 

1537 LIFE OF CALVIN. 19 

from errour, but from all suspicion. Carol i was condemned 
as an infamous calumniator. # 

« Yours, &c.»' 

This mischievous sophist had the hardihood to continue 
his accusations, on the ground that he had other and high- 
er evidence to convict those Ministers of heres3\ A second 
trial was holden before the S3mod at Bern. The result was 
equally unfavourable to Caroli. This sycophant was after- 
wards, by a decree of the Senate of Geneva, expelled from 
their territory. Restless and dissatisfied with himself, 
and envious at the distinction of others, Caroli alternately 
changed from the Papists to the Reformers, courting the one 
by calumniating the other, till he fell into merited disgrace 
with both. After unsuccessfully courting the favour of the 
Papists at Metz, by opposing the preaching of Farel in that 
city, he addressed a letter to Calvin. In this he attempt- 
ed to exculpate himself, and implored his assistance to pro- 
vide him with the charge of some Church, which might 
supply him with the means of subsistence. To his letter 
Calvin returned a faithful and affectionate answer,f assuring 
him of his assistance, when that penitency and humility 
should be manifested which the aggravated nature of his of- 
fences demanded. Favour on these terms was in vain ex- 
tended to this irritable man, who had become familiar with 
falsehood and other vices. Reduced at length to a wretch- 
ed and destitute condition, and labouring under a loathsome 
disease, he was, after much difficulty, received by the Pa- 
pists into an hospital, where he ended his days in a manner 
correspondent to the wicked course of his life. 

The anxiety of Calvin was excited, toward the close of 
this year, at the conduct of many persons in France, who 

* In Epistolis Calvini, p. 227 — et Epistolis Farelli ad Calvinum, p. 34. 
■\ See Letters, No. 4. 

30 LIFE OF CALVIN. 153r 

received the true doctrine?, but to avoid persecution, or se- 
cure emoluments, publickly adhered to the Popish service. 
Prompt in his attention to whatever might promote or re- 
tard the progress of the Ptcformation, he wrote on tJiat sub- 
ject t\so elegant epistles.^ The first on the duty of avoid- 
ing the unlawful superstitions of the Romish Church, and of 
openly professing Christ, he addressed to Nicholas Cerainus, 
his intimate friend when at the University of Orleans. Ce- 
minus, having received the appointment of a civil ofRce in 
tlie Province of la Maine, requested the advice of Calvin, on 
the following question : How far one might innocently appear 
as a Papist, in accommodating himself to their forms, while 
lie cherished in private the principles of the true religion ? 
In the answer of Calvin, the strong feelings of personal friend- 
ship, and the predominant love of that Saviour, who de- 
mands, in his service, the v, hole heart, are interwoven with 
an interest of affection, and an energy of argument, which 
bear the soul along on the slow but increasing current of 
conviction, till it insensibly rises into that animated apprehen- 
sion of unseen things, before which the favour or displeasure 
of the M'orld dwindles into all its transient littleness. 

The other epistle Calvin dedicated to Gerard Roussel, who, 
after his imprisonment at Paris in 1533, was retained at Nerac 
by the Queen as her domestick JMinister. By her favour, 
he was first made Al^bot of Clerac, and afterwards Bishop 
of Olcron. Calvin addresses his old friend, with a familiari- 
ty of reproof which testifies his^ grief at the step Roussel 
had taken to cover himself from persecution. Enlarging on 
the pleasing expectations which he might entertain of secu- 
rity in his worldly projnotion, he proceeds to exhibit the na- 
ture of the office, and the absolute duties of a Bishop of Je- 

* In Opusculis Calvini, pp. 409—423. Tlicse two epistles were translat- 
^ d into German by Leo Jiulah, a Minister of Zurich, and published in 1539 
J'.rdah's letter to Calvin, among- liis Epistles, p, 12. 

1537 LIFE OF CALVIN. 21 

siis Christ. He draws a contrast between them and the rites 
and superstitions of the Romish Church, which Roussel had 
pledged Iiimself to perform, by accepting and holding his 
office visibly in that communion. He presses the enquiry, 
with a force not easily evaded, Wiether an lionest man can 
perform those stipulated services, which he had enumerated 
as unscriptural ? He calls Roussel before the judgment seat 
of Christ, to answer the enquiry ; and concludes by urging 
him, with a zealous and eloquent earnestness for the cause 
of Christ, either openly and promptly to fulfil the duties of the 
episcopal office, as limited and commanded by the word of 
God, or to leave his standing and emoluments in that polluted 
Church, for rewards more durable than the dignitaries of this 
world can bestow. In the conclusion of this letter, the reason- 
ing of Calvin corresponded with his own example. He urges 
the point of duty, as at that time of peculiar moment to be 
clearly understood among the friends of the true doctrines, 
who were surrounded by many dangers and temptations ; 
and insists that all persons loving the truth as it is in Jesus, 
ought to withdraw from the idolatrous communion, the usurp- 
ed authority, and profligate priesthood of that Church. 

The changes produced in many families and estates of the 
Genevese, by their late war with the Duke of Savoy, which 
terminated in their independence, laid the foundation for 
subsequent contests. From this cause, and the corrupt ha- 
bits of the people, animosities successively arose, and nume- 
rous hindrances Avere thrown in the way to obstruct the pro- 
gress of Church order and discipline. Calvin, Farel and 
Coraud, harmonizing in their opinions, pursued the mild, 
course of instruction, and of expostulations with the refrac- 
tory, to bring the people by degrees to conform to the doc- 
trines and discipline which they had adopted. Their most 
faithful exertions, however, proved unavailing. The passions 
Qi those, whose flagrant vices they had reproved, were kin- 

2g LIFE OF CALVIN. 1538 

died into the bitterest resentment against them. Tlie evils 
i\ ere daily accumulating, by the factions into which the city 
was divided, till, confiding in the strength of tiieir numl)cr3, 
many openly refused to submit to those rules of discipline 
which they had sworn to support and obey. Those Minis- 
ters were conscious, that if they relinquished the restraints of 
discipline, and their restrictive admonitions against the vices 
of the profligate, they should eventually defeat all tlie pur- 
poses of the Church of Christ. They judged it expedient, 
therefore, to take a determined stand in what they conceiv- 
ed to be their official duty, and abide the consequences. 
They publickly refused to dispense the Lord's Supper to 
those persons who rejected the rules of discipline, and 
who were labouring to open the same easy and licentious ac- 
cess to the Eucharist as that in which they were indulged 
by the Popish Church. These fermentations were accelerat- 
ed by the dilTerences which had arisen between the Church 
of Geneva and that of Bern, with respect to some of their 
ceremonies. The Genevese, before Calvin settled with them, 
had introduced the use of leavened bread at the Lord's Sup- 
per, removed the Popish baptismal fonts, and abolished all 
the festivals of the Romish Churoji, observing the Lord's 
day only as holy time.^)^ A Synod held at Lausanne had or- 
dered that the fonts, with the festivals and the unleavened 
bread, should be restored. But as the IMinisters of Geneva 
liad not been called to that Synod, they demanded the pri- 
vilege of being heard. Upon this it was agreed that these 
differences should ])e referred to the decision of a Council 
to be holden at Zurich. This controversy about the cere- 
monials of religion furnished an occasion for those disaffected 

• Calvin, in his letter to the Ministers of Bern, says, Before I came first 
to this city, all the Popish festivals had been abolished. This had been 
thought proper by Farcl and Viret, and I wiHinf^ly acquiesced in the re- 
»'C^'«d custcnn 

1538 LIFE OF CALVIN. 23 

Syndicks, who had aided Caroli in his proceedings, to make 
more effectual exertions to displace those Ministers. In the 
alternative of submitting to ecclesiastical censures, or ejecting 
those faithful Pastors, they had no hesitancy in making their 
election. They convened an assembly of the people, in 
which the greater part overpowered the better, and without 
granting the request of those Pastors to be heard, they ob- 
tained an order, That Farel-, Calvin and Coraud should leave 
the city within two days. When this sentence was announced 
to Calvin, conscious of his integrity, and confident of the ap- 
probation of his divine JMa^^ter, he said. Had I been in the 
service of men, this would have been a poor reward ; but it is 
/veil. — / have served Him, who never fails to repay his ser^ 
vants whatever he has promised. 

In obedience to tlie order of the people, Farel, Calvin and 
Coraud,# amidst the lamentations of their whole flock, retir- 
ed from Geneva. They proceeded directly to Zurich, to 
attend, according to appointment, the Synod of the Swiss 
Churches. This Council, by a formal decree, requested the 
Church of Bern to interpose their influence with the Gene- 
vese for the recall of those exiled Ministers. Their efforts 
were however unavailing. 

Man is often impatient to effect, at once, the objects which 
he regards as desirable ; but God fulfils his counsels by a 
progress and order comprehended only by himself: With 
him, delay is accomplishment. Geneva was still destined of 
God, to be the place for the immense labours and extensive 
influence of Calvin, in promoting the cause of the Reforma- 
tion. By passing into exile his faith was tried, his experi- 
ence enlarged, his acquaintance with other Churches and di- 
vines extended, and his subsequent authority and usefulness 
vastly promoted. 

* See Letters, No. 5. Coraud'g deatli 


By Iiis ejectment Calvin was freed from tlic obligations of 
his ministerial calling. He spent a short time at Basil, and 
then retired to Strasburg, where he determined to repose 
himself in retirement, and devote his whole attention to his 
favourite studies. The Church in this city was illuminated 
by those distinguished men, Bucer, Capito, Hedio, Niger, 
and Sturm ius.# Calvin had not long enjoyed his retirement, 
before the influence of Bucer and his associates procured his 
election to the Professorship of Theology in the College of 
Strasburg. His learning, his talents and application enabled 
him to discharge the duties of this office with unrivalled 
applause. He had an unwavering testimony of the publick 
approbation, in the increasing number of students, who were 
attracted to that seminary by his reputation. At the re- 
quest of his friends, he at length resumed his ministerial du- 
ties, and, with the approbation of the Senate, gathered a 
French Church ; and established the same order of worship 
and discipline, which he had introduced mto that of Ge- 

The factious Syndicks, having obtained the subversion of 
that ecclesiastical order and discipline, which they opposed 
as too rigid and severe, proceeded to introduce unleavened 
bread, to the exclusion of the common bread, which had 
been used at the Lord's Supper by Farel and Viret, since 
the adoption of the reformed doctrines in that Church. 
This occasioned new dissensions among the members. Anx- 
ious to prevent divisions, and to keep the sound members in 
that Church from separation, Calvin addressed a letter to 
those who ^^'ere oifended at the change.f He admonished 
them, among other things, not to abstain from the Eucha- 
rist, to use moderation, and accommodate themselves to those 

• John Sturmius, Rector of the school, is to be distinguished from James, 
the Senator and Syndick of Strasburg'. 
t Sec Letter?, No. 6. 

1538 LIFE OF CALVIN- 25 

designing innovators, lest they sliould excite a serious conten- 
tion about things in tliemselves indiilerent. Ready to con- 
tend even to deat]i, in defence of essential doctrines, Calviu 
well knew ho^v to exercise moderation, about such matters 
as the use of leavened or unleavened bread at the Lord's 

The Genevese Church Avere, at this time, divided among 
themselves, and destitute of learned and influential Pastors. 
In this situation, they were exposed, as an object of prey, to 
the Papists, who were vigilant and active to seize the op- 
portunity to bring them back to the Romish Church. James 
Sadolet, Bishop of Carpentras, a city of Dauphiny, and on 
the borders of Savoy, had been created a Cardinal in his ad- 
vanced years, for the special purpose of increasing his exer- 
tions and influence in repressing the progress of the reform- 
ed doctrines. Distinguished for his talents, eloquence and 
correct morals, he well understood how to time and temper 
his exertions for the most eifectual accomj^lishment of his 
purpose. He addressed a letter to the Senate, Council and 
people of Geneva, under the meek appellation of Beloved 
Brethren,^ With a richness of style, mildness of manner, 
and prudence of argument, adapted to soften their prejudices, 
he endeavoured to fix their attention on those points, al^out 
which they most directly agreed ; and affectionately entreat- 
ed them to return within the pale of the mother Church. 
On perusing this impressive letter, at Strasburg, Calvin per- 
ceived the evils it might occasion to the Genevese Church, 
from that smooth, deceptive reasoning, which was artfully 
pursued to fascinate the ignorant and undisciplined mind. 

The answer which Calvin addressed to Sadolet reversed 
both the manner and matter of the CardinaFs argument. 
Open, distinct and dignified, it placed before the people of 

•* Sadolet's Letter, in Opus. Cal. April 7, 1539.— Tlie answer of Calvin is 
<ialed September 1, 15"9. 



Geneva the precise points of the controversy ; unmasked the 
poJhitions of Popery ; fixed their attention on tlie essential 
terms of acceptance with God at the day of Judgment, and 
^\iih an eloquence of argument so appropriate, as placed the 
object of the Cardinal's pursuit effectually beyond his reach. 

During this year, Calvin published a revised edition of 
his Institutes ; — liis Commentary on the Epistle to the Ro- 
mans, which he dedicated to his friend Simon Gryneus ; — 
and a small work on the Lord's Supper,^ by which he de- 
signed to allay the severe controversies on the subject, which 
were in agitation between the adherents of ZuingUus and 

Among those ^a horn Calvin had been successful in reclaiin- 
ing from the Anabaptists, two were persons of some distinc- 
tion. Paul Folse, to whom Erasmus dedicated his Enchiri- 
dium Militis Christiani, and who was afterwards a Pastor in 
the Church of Strasburg ; and John Stordcr, of Liege, whose 
widoM', Tdelctta, de Bure, Calvin married, by the advice of 
Bucer, in the year 1540. In a letter to Farel Calvin AM'ites 
thus : — " Concerning my marriage, I now speak more openly 
— you know very well what qualifications, I always expect- 
ed in a wife. I am not of that passionate race of lovers, 
who, when once captivated with the external form, embrace 
also, w ith eagerness, the moral defects it may cover. The 
person -who would delight me with her beauty, must be 
chaste, frugal, patient, and afibrd me some hope, that she 

will be solicitous for my personal health and prosperity. 

Strasburg, May 29, 1539." 

The only child of Calvin was a son, who died in 15i5. 
Calvin, at the close of a letter to Viret, dated August 19, of 
that year, says. The Lord has certainly inflicted a heavy and 
severe wound on us, by the death of our little son ; hut he is 
our Lather and knons what is expedient for his children, 

'* In Opusculis Calvlni. 

1539 LIFE OF CALVIN. 21 

In the spring of 1539, Calvin, Avith Simon Gryneus, was 
appointed, by the Churches of Strasburg, to attend the im- 
perial Synod at Frankfort.^ He also attended, with Bucer 
and John Sturmius, at the Diet of Worms in 1540, and the 
Diet of Ratisbon in 1541. In his letters to Farel, he gave 
an interesting detail of the transactions of those conventions, 
and designated the characters of the most distinguished per- 
sons who attended them.f Calvin interested himself in fa- 
vour of tlie persecuted brethren in France, and eventually 
succeeded, in procuring an address to the King, from the 
SMes and Princes of Germany, for the relief of the persecut- 
ed Churches in that country. At this time commenced his 
acquaintance with Fhilip Melancthon, which opened the way 
for an interesting correspondence, and a friendship terminate 
ing only with the death of the latter. Melancthon, on his 
acquaintance with Calvin, distinguished him by the appel- 
lation of the Theologian. At this time also, Gaspar Cruci- 
ger, subsequently Rector of the Academy of Wittemburg, 
had an interview with Calvin on the nature of the Lord's 
Supper, and declared his approbation of his opinion. 

The Syndicks, who effected the expulsion of Farel, Calvin 
and Coraud, pursued a course of licentiousness, which, un- 
der the influence of their habits of moral stupidity, rapidly 
drew upon them the vindictive consequences of their crimes. 
This life is not indeed a state of retribution, but events are 
sometimes indelibly marked by the hand of a remunerating 
Providence. One of those Syndicks was accused and found 
guilty of sedition. In attempting to escape from the offi- 
cer, he precipitated himself through a window ; and, being- 
very corpulent, bruised his body to such a degree, that he 
languished a few days and died. Another was found guilty 

* Seckendorf, vol. 2, p. 205. 

f See Letters, No. 7 to 23, for Calvin's account of the Diets of Cermanj-, 
and his recall and return to Geneva. 

38 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1541 

of murder, and piiblickly executed. The other tAvo, for 
tlicir misconduct while on an embassy from Geneva, were 
forbidden to return, and condemned to perpetual exile. 

The current of two years had materially changed the face 
of things at Geneva. In 1541, the people, in a pu]:)lick as- 
sembly, manifested their desire for the return of Calvin ;# 
and an embassy was sent to Strasbui'g to solicit his release 
from the French Church in that city. He Avas then at the 
Diet of Worms ; they proceeded therefore to that place. 
He however wholly declined their proposals. Bucer and his 
colleagues protested against his leaving the Divinity Chair, 
and his Church at Strasburg. 

At this time the Emperour, for political purposes, dissolv- 
ed the Assembly at Worms, and ordered a Diet to be hold- 
en at Ratisbon in March, 1541. Melancthon, having become 
strongly attached to Calvin, insisted that he should relin- 
quish his determination of returning home, and proceed with 
Bucer directly for Ratisbon. It was ultimately agreed, that 
Calvin should visit Geneva, examine the state of the Church, 
and determme what the cause of religion required as to his 
return to that city. It was proposed to the Genevese agents, 
that they should request Viret to leave his Church at Lau- 
sanne, and spend a few months with them till the Diet 
should be closed. The Genevese persevered in their la- 
bours to procure the return of Calvin, and eventually suc- 
ceeded, through the interposition of Bullinger and the Church 
of Zurich, who addressed the subsequent very interesting 
letter to Calvin on that occasion : — 

*' The Professoks and Pastors of the Church of Zurich, 
TO Calvin, their respected Brother in Christ. 

(The first part of the letter abridged.) 
" Wc have always written to you, dear and respected bro- 
llicr, V. itli the greatest pleasure ; but on no occasion have wc 

* Sec LeUcrs, No. 12 and lo;. 

1541 LIFE OF CALVIN. 29 

addressed you with more exalted satisfaction, than the pre- 
sent, in which we magnify our office as the friends of the glo- 
ry of God and tlie church of Christ. We are persuaded that 
the love and power of Christ bind you to us in the strictest 
bonds of friendship, and we feel a confidence that we shall ob- 
tain the object which we request. 

** The futile result of the arts and hypocrisy of Satan, in 
procuring your ejection from the city and Church of Geneva, 
we need not detail ; nor the dignified manner in which you 
were received at Strasburg, where you found favom* in the 
eyes of the Lord. For your former enemies, disappointed as 
to the disgrace ^vhich they predicted would follow you in 
your exile, now come, with the strongest vows of sincerity, 
and by an honourable legation bringing the highest testimo- 
nies of your faith, diligence and innocence, to beseech your 
return to that city, and to your former pastoral oihce in that 
Church. This change in the state of the Church of Geneva 
brings unusual joy to us and all the pious. And that you 
are recalled to that Church, we doubt not, will avraken in 
your soul sentiments of peculiar joy ; and now by this letter 
we entreat you, and we trust our entreaties will have some' 
weight, not to neglect or despise this vocation of God. We 
are not ignorant what obstacles the flesh may oppose, nor 
what difficulties may deter you from this undertaking. You 
may indeed say — « What ! shall I return to those who, base, 
inconstant and vain, exiled me without cause ?' and ma- 
ny other such like things. But to these suggestions, whetlier 
true or false, it is the duty of a soldier of Christ to stop his 
ears, while he opens them Avitli readiness to the call of God. — 
The causes which now detain you at Strasburg are not such, 
as Avere you to leave that Church would j)roduce any commo- 
tion j for that Church is distinguished above others for men 
of the most exalted piety and learning. — But the Church of 
Geneva, at this time, has no learned Minister but Viret alone, 

30 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1541 

on whose shoulders the "vvhole weight of the pastoral office 
noAV presses with all its force, and Viret must, in a short time, 
return to his own flock, as his own Church at Lausanne is in 
great danger while destitute of its Pastor. If our eternal Pas- 
tor left the ninety and nine, and sought in its wanderings the 
lost sheep, what shall not he do, \\hose sheep of their own 
accord demand their Pastor, and pursue him retiring from 
them with such ardent zeal ? Christ willingly offers his 
grace to his unworthy and wilful despisers ; and it becomes 
us in all our actions to follow his example. With what mind, 
with what spirit, or even conscience, can you desert and fly 
from those, w ho come earnestly to you, and seek you alone for 
their Pastor ? — It was by your labours, and by your ministry, 
that the Church of Geneva w as renewed in Christ. Will you 
therefore, can you disregard and reject the earnest cries of 
your children for their o^^ n parent ? Will you suifer so ma- 
ny lambs to be exposed as a prey, for whom Clirist poured 
forth his blood ? That they are exposed as a prey, is evi- 
dent, since the eloquent Sadolet, with wonderful address and 
artful intrigue, attempted to break into the Church of Gene- 
va. And encouraged by the hope of spoil, in a Church des- 
titute of its pastoral defence, he w ill, with more intense eager- 
ness, pursue the object, Avhich he has ventured to attack. — 
We should never account that difficult which God com- 
mands, nor grieve at the vocation of the Lord ; for he who 
is able will give us strength, and wisdom, and patience. 
His faithfulness will not fail, in removing those obstacles 
which, in the judgment of the flesh, lie in our path. The 
Lord was never w anting to those who called upon him in 
truth. Since then so many Churches entreat you to enter on 
this office, you should do it the more confidently. But more- 
over, as to the great advantages of your holding that station, 
we need not say much. You will deliver many sheep from 
the jawB of the wolves, and will bind upon your head an un- 

1541 LIFE OF CALVIN. 31 

fading- crown before God. You know that Geneva, being on 
the confines of France, Italy and Germany, affords the 
strongest expectations that the Gospel may be disseminated 
through the neighbouring cities, and the bounds of the king- 
dom of Christ enlarged. You know that the Apostle chose 
the chief cities, in which to preach the Gospel, that he 
might more easily cause its streams to flow through all tlieir 
borders. You must be well aware, how extensively you may 
spread from tJiat city the Gospel of Christ, by your preach- 
ing and your writings. These, dear Calvin, are the things^ 
which induce us to ask you, to entreat you, to conjure you, 
not to reject this vocation, which.we believe is of the Lord, 
but to foUo^N^ it instantly and without delay. We doubt 
not your fidelity and good will to run with readiness in 
the way of duty, though we thus press you with some 
stimulating motives, that you may make the greater speed. 
We hope that our prayers and entreaties will avail with 
you. You know. how much we love you, how much we 
would do for your sake and at your request. We regard and 
respect you on account of the eminent gifts with which 
God has been pleased to adorn you. But both yours and 
his, studious for your reputation, and the warmest friends 
of the Churches and of truth, we beseech you, our bro- 
ther and friend, and conjure you through Christ, neither 
to resist or despise our request, as Ave hope we are influ- 
enced by the Spirit of God and the highest regard for 
his glory. Farewell, our ever revered brother, and pray 
to God for us. 

« Zurich, April 4', 1541." 

Bucer and his colleagues also gave their opinion in favour 
of Calvin's return to Geneva, at least for some stipulated 
time. He however reluctantly yielded, and on this subject 
says, in the jpreface to his Commentary on the Psalms^ " AI- 

32 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1541 

though the prosperity of this Church was of such high con- 
cern that I would willingly have undergone death for it, yet 
my timidity suggested a great variety of reasons why I 
should not afresh subject my shoulders to a burden so op- 
pressive.— At last, the obligation and responsibility of my of- 
fice determined mc to restore myself to the flock, from which 
I had been so violently separated ; but with what deep sor- 
row, abundant tears, and extreme anxiety I did this, the 
best of beings is my witness."— Calvin, pressed by the ad- 
vice of all his friends, retired from the Diet of Ratisbon, 
and arrived at Geneva September 13, 1541. He was receiv- 
ed with the gratulations of the whole people, while the Se- 
nate made their publick acknowledgment to God for so sig- 
nal a favour. 

The Genevese now requested the Senate of Strasburg to 
cancel the clause of the agreement which limited the conti- 
nuance of Calvin with them, to a specified time. This was 
yielded at length, on condition that he should retain the ho- 
nours conferred on him by that city, and his annual sala- 
ry. He consented to retain the first, but the pecuniary 
emolument he could never be prevailed on to accept. Cal- 
vin had made it a condition of his return, that Farel should 
be recalled at the same time. The people of Geneva com- 
plied on their part, but no inducement could prevail on Fa- 
re! to leave Neufchatel, to trust himself again on the rest- 
less waters of that city.'^ On resuming his former charge, 
Calvin fixed himself stedfastly on the direction of his Lord, 
— Seek yc first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall 
be added wHo you. As an object of faith and ground of hope, 
this passage of scripture furnished him with divine support 
through his unremitting labours and unparalleled trials, in 
promoting the purity and prosperity of the Church. 

" Sec Letters, No. 20, 21, J??. 

1541 LIFE OF CALVIN. 33 

CalWn well understood that the period of renewed con- 
fldence must be improved to introduce a system of doc 
trine and discipline, which would be a standard of faith 
and government. He explained to the Senate what he judg- 
ed would be expedient for their welfare in the Church 
Agreeable to his request, the Senate appointed six of their 
body, who, with Calvin, Viret and the three coUeagru^s, ma- 
tured, with cautious deliberation, the articles of ecclesiasti- 
cal polity. By these articles, the power of excommunication 
together with the subordinate rights of discipline, was com- 
mitted to the Church. It was of course violently opposed by 
those persons,whose habits and crimes rendered them obnoxious 
to Its coercive authority. Some of the common people, and a 
number of the influential citizens, who had put off the Po- 
pish forms, and assumed merely the name of Christ by de- 
grees went over to the opposition. The three colleagues* 
who still remained in that Church since the exile of Calvin 
Farel and Coraud. although they had bound themselves to' 
abide by whatever Calvin and Viret should judge expedi- 
ent, now began privately to oppose the adoption of the arti- 
cles. These Pastors were too much exposed to discipline, by 
theu- own irregularities, to be advocates for the establishment 
of restrictive laws. The opposers covered themselves with 
the pretext, that other Churches had not the right of ex- 
communication ; that this was the right of the Senate; and 
if the authority was given into the hands of the Church it 
would termmate in Papistical tyranny. Convinced that the 
articles were according to the word of God, and that they 
were indispensable for the government and purity of the 
Church, Calvin proceeded, with moderation and firmness, to 
prove from the scriptures, that the power of excommunica- 
tion was in the Church; and that it was inconsistent to 
lodge with a civil body the exclusive right of doing an act. 
* See Letters, No. 30. 


;^i LIFE OF CALVIN. 1541 

\mrtly ecclesiastical. To weaken the force of the objection, 
that other Churches did not exercise this power, he adduc- 
ed the testimony of the most learned Reformers, of Zuin- 
glius, (Ecolampadius, Melancthon, Bucer, Capito, Zuichius, 
IMyconius, and others. In his argument he passed no cen- 
sure on those Churches Avhich had not adopted rules for exer- 
cising their own rights, and cast no blame on those Pastors 
who judged that the members of theu" Churches needed no 
such ecclesiastical restraints. He enforced, with much clear- 
ness, the vast difference between the unscriptural impositions 
of the Papacy, and a legitimate Presbytery. Calvin suc- 
ceeded in his purpose. On the 20th of November, 1541, 
the revised laws of ecclesiastical polity in that Church were 
established by the unanimous vote of the Senate, and the 
consent of the people. 

The course of labours on which Calvin entered, and the 
daily duties which he discharged as Professor and Pastor, 
arc truly astonishing, and such cuid so numerous as no ordi- 
nary mind could have effected. Every official duty was lo- 
cated with the most exact order. He preached every day 
of every other week — on IMonday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 
he gave lectures in Theology — on Thursday, he presided in 
the meeting of the Presbytery — on Friday, he expounded 
the holy scriptures to the congregation. In addition to these 
and other ofticial duties, he devoted the remnants of his time 
to study and writing. Um-emitting in his labours, he illus- 
trated the holy scriptures by his coiumentaries ; answered, 
as occasions called, the opposers of religion ; and wrote on 
the most abstruse subjects with profoundness and caution. 
In fine, he turned his attention and his pen to whatever con- 
cerned the order, the purity and peace of the Church. 

The instruction of youth was, in the estimation of Calvin, 
an o])ject of primary interest to the Avelfare of civil society, 
and the cause of religion. He therefore revised and enlarge 

154i2 LIFE OF CALVIN. 35 

cd the Catechism, which he first pubhslied in 1537. This 
judicious and popular work was composed after the order of 
his Institutes, embracing doctrines, duties and the means of 
grace. He pubhshed it in French and in Latin. It was 
noticed with unparalleled applause, and soon translated into 
the German, English, Dutch, Scotch, and Spanish languag- 
es ; into the Greek by Henry Stephens, and finally into the 
Hebrew by the learned Christian Jew, Emanuel Tremellius. 
And the Assembly of Divines at Westminster, in 16^3, made 
it the model of the Catechism which is so justly esteemed 
among all the Presbyterian Churches.# 

While Calvin was cautiously occupied in the concerns of 
his OAvn Church, his labours were unremitted in administer- 
ing relief and consolation to the brethren who were driven 
from France and Italy, by the persecution of the Papists. 
His reputation as a Divine and Professor of Theology, attract- 
ed such numbers from Italy, England, and even Spain, that 
it was with difficulty that they were furnished with lodgings 
in Geneva. He was ever anxiously mindful of those in France, 
who were suffering imprisonment, chains and death, and 
when he could afford them no other means of relief, he ad- 
dressed to them letters of encouragement and comfort. 

This year a scarcity of provisions, and its usual compa- 
nion, the plague, prevailed in Geneva. The police of the ci- 
ty, as their custom had been, established an infirmary with- 
out the walls, for the reception of the infected. The sedu- 
lous attention of a comforterf was required to give instruc- 
tion to the sick, and consolation to the dying. In conse- 
quence of the dread of the contagion, three persons only of- 
fered their service to fill this dangerous post, Calvin, Casta- 
lio and Blanchet. Tlie iot being cast, fell upon Castalio, 
who unfairly declined this office of humanity. The Senate 
being unwilling to hazard the life of Calvin, Blanchet go- 

* OpuBcula, p, 12. I See Notes and Biog". No. 11. 

36 Llt^E OF CALVIN. 154& 

iierously assumed the perilous and honourable charge upon 

Peter Tossanus, Pastor of Montbeillard, was engaged at 
this time in a controversy concerning the ceremonies of that 
Church. At the request of the brethren, he wrote to Cal- 
vin, for his opinion on the various points of controversy.* 
Myconius, Pastor of Basil, experienced a severe opposition in 
his attempt to introduce the rules and discipline of the Con- 
sistory into that city. The opposers contended that the 
power of excommunication belonged to the Senate, and ad- 
duced the example of Moses and David, as holding civil 
offices, and at the same time controling ecclesiastical mat- 
ters. Blyconius, perplexed with these arguments, wrote to 
Calvin for his opinion. Calvin concisely refuted the objec- 
tions, and vindicated the right of the Church to the exclu- 
sive authority of exconununicating its members, when incor- 
rigible under subordinate discipline.! 

The progress of the Reformation in France was counte- 
nanced, amidst the severest dangers, by many distinguished 
personages. The number of the reformed Churches in- 
creased beyond the most sanguine expectations of their ad- 
vocates. The jealousy and rage of the Doctors of the Sor- 
bonne were excited, and they determined to enforce against 
them the severest persecutions of imprisonment, banishment 
and fire. In pursuance of this object, those Inquisitors, 
headed by Peter Lisset, framed the chief points of their 
faith and worship into twenty-five articles, as a standard 
for the trial and punishment of every person who refused to 
subscri]:)e them. They were presented to Francis I., who 
approved tliem March 10, 1542. Being afterwards sanction- 
ed by the Pope, Paul III., they were published by a royal 
decree, enjoining all Doctors, Bachelors and Teachers to sub- 
scribe them, and not to teach any thing contrary to them on 

• Sec Letters, No, 25. | See Letters, No. 27; 


the penalty of being treated as hereticks. Some of the re- 
formed Teachers, through weakness or fear, were induced 
to subscribe those Popish articles. This inllicted a deep 
wound on the cause of the pure doctrines. The attention 
of Calvin was called to this artful measure of the inquisito- 
rial Parliament of Paris, and in answering their confession of 
faith, he applied to each article such solid reasoning, and 
sometimes such satirical pleasantry, as furnished against its 
errors a powerful J?itidote»% 

The writings of Calvin, and the reputation he had esta. 
blished at the Diets in Germany, excited towards him the 
jealous attention of the Papists. The purity of his Latin, 
the force of his reasoning, and his facility at composition,' 
with his extensive learning, all which he had forcibly exem- 
plihed in his publications, secured to him from his enemies a 
high degree of consideration. The servitude and freedom of 
the will, as maintained by Luther, Melancthon, Bucer and 
Calvin, was a material point in the great question, so much 
agitated about good works and the doctrine of justification 
by faith. The Papists were solicitous that some great effort 
should be made, to defend their side of the question, which 
had been laid naked by the writings of those Reformers 
Albert Pighius,t ^^ubllc,, learned and ambitious, offered h^m- 
self as the champion of their cause. It was first proposed at 
the Diet of Worms, that he should enter the lists against all 
those Reformers; but, upon further consideration, he select- 
ed Calvm as his antagonist, considering that a victory over 
him would be the defeat of them all. Pighius began the 
combat with high expectations of securing the Pope's favour 
and a Cardinal's Hat jj but he met in the issue with a dou- 

* This is the Utle of Calvin's answer. See Opuscula, n. 190 
t See Notes, No. 12.'''^' TnV-' '''"' *^' ''''' ^'''^ ^'""''^^ ^^^t - ^-^ ^«^ should 
beU^esymbolof theCardinal's office. This co,ni.ance was so sing^Uar, 
that It was soon used for the office itself. 



ble mortification. Tlie Papists charged him with maintain- 
ing errors on some points against their faith, and with adopt- 
ing on others the opinions^ of that Reformer u horn he had 
undertaken to refute. Calvin, in reply concerning the servi- 
tude and freedom of the mill, proved that Pighius had copied 
whole pages from his Institutes, without the least notice to 
his readers of the source from which he had taken those spoils. 
Thus this ambitious and self-confident man incurred, at the 
same time, the displeasure of the Papists, and the just cen- 
sure of the learned. Calvin dedicated his work concerning 
the freedom of the ivill, to his friend Philip Melanctlion,t 
February, 15i3. 

About this time originated the diiference between Sebastian 
Castalio and Calvin. Castalio was learned in the languages, 
and had been patronized by Calvin, first at Strasburg, and on 
his return to Geneva he introduced him as the Instructor of 
the Grammar School in that city. Castalio pubUshed a 
translation of the scriptures in the French language, in 
which appeared much affectation of style and vulgar obscu- 
rity, together with some impure expressions. Calvin, in a 
private conversation, pointed out to him, with all frankness, 
those things which appeared to be reprehensible. Castalio 
was irritated at the free remarks of Calvin ; and instead of 
correcting the faults of his translation, avowed more openly 
opinions, which he had before concealed, and which were of- 
fensive to Calvin, especially as he deeply wounded the au- 
thority of the scriptures, by rejecting the Song of Solomon as 
uninspired and obscure. Calvin was jealous of the authority 
and purity of the scriptures, and a stranger to all compro- 
mises with those who persevered in maintaining opinions 
which he viewed as false and heretical. Castalio persisted in 
justifying his rejection of a portion of the divine volume^ 

• See Bayle, Art. Pighius. 

t Opusctaa Calvini, p. 117. See Letters, No. 28. 

1544 ' LIFE OF CALVIN. 39 

which rests, like every other part, not on the reasoning or fan- 
cy of man, but on the testimony of God. He was summoned 
before the Senate, by the voice of the people, and, after be- 
ing fully heard in his defence, was sentenced as a calumnia* 
tor of the scriptures, and ordered to leave the city. 

In November, 1544, Calvin wrote an interesting letter to 
the Pastors of Neufchatel on the subject of discipline.# The 
order which should be pursued, and the disposition which is 
to be exercised in conducting censures among Ministers, are 
judiciously illustrated. As he proceeds, he lays down this 
proposition — The scriptures express the substance of ecclesi- 
astical discipline in plain words ; but the form of that disci- 
pline, since it is not prescribed by the Lord, ought to be deter- 
mined by the Ministers for edification. The observation of the 
principle involved in this proposition, concerning the exterior 
order and government of the Church, would have saved her 
members from much injurious controversy. However diifer- 
ing about the colour of the vesture of Jesus, the Churches 
which were united in tlie essential doctrines, the apostacy, 
the atonement and Godhead of the Redeemer, the Divinity 
and office of the Spirit, might on that principle have given 
each other the right hand of fellowship, and walked together 
in peaceful and affectionate attachment to the transcendant 
cause of him who purchased the Church with his own blood. 

During this year, the Emperour of Germany was providen- 
tially compelled to grant indulgence and aid to that cause, 
which he designed ultimately to destroy. Pressed with the 
burdensome expenses of his war with France, and by the suc- 
cess of the Turks in Hungary, he called a Diet at Spires ; and 
to secure the assistance of the protestant Princes, he ordered, 
among other privileges, which he granted them, that no 
person should be molested from that time on account of his rc^ 

* See Letters, No. 29. 

40 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1644 

ligious principles, till a general Council should be called.^ 
With tills decree the Pope was of course displeased. In the 
heat of his resentment, he addressed a letter to Charles, re- 
proaching him in severe terms, with assuming the rights of 
the Pontiff, and betraying the cause of the Church ; and 
threatened to exert against him the power of his official ven- 
geance. The Emperour, pressed with difficulties on every 
hand, gave Paul an evasive and courtly answer. In the 
perusal of those letters, Calvin observed the temporizing of 
Charles, and the arrogance of the Pope, who had, in his 
opinion, violated the truth of the Gospel, and reproached the 
innocence of the Reformers. He addressed an answer to 
Paul, with the firmness which would have become the Em- 
perour, and well adapted to shame his audacity, and expose 
the emptiness of his threats.-]- 

While the Diet at Spires was in session, which terminated 
so favourably to the cause of the Protestants, Calvin, vnih. 
his usual vigilance, seized the opportunity of publishing, with 
greater eilect, his work, entitled The necessity of reforming 
the Church.'l In this treatise, he attacked the vices of the 
clergy, and exposed the corruptions of the Papacy ; he also 
defined, in a luminous manner, the true Church of Christ, 
and defended the cause of the Reformation, with an energy 
of argument, unparalleled in the writings of that distinguish- 
ed age. To extend its circulation, and increase its influ- 
ence, he expressly addressed it to the Emperour, Princes and 
Orders assembled in Convention at Spires, 

The Anabaptists and Libertines took their rise about the 
same time, 1525, and from the same point of depression and 
ignorance. They pursued substantially the same delusive 

• Bower's Hist, of the Popes, vol. 7, Oct. p. 630.— Robert. Charles V. 
t Sec Pope Paul III.'s Letter and Calvin's answer in Opusculis Calvini, 
p. 178, et 182. 
i Opuscula Calvini, p. 37. 

1544 LIFE OF CALVIN. 41 

objects, perfectibility of soul, and a spirituality of devotion, 
which elevated them above religious order and civil re^ 
straints. Casting behind them the revealed scriptures, the 
Anabaptists, by their personal visions and inspirations, and the 
Libertines, by abstract reasonings and a union of soul with 
God by secluded contemplations, alike laid claim to sinless 
perfection. The former assumed as their guide the impulses 
and illapses of the Spirit, while in fact they were under the 
dominant influence of their own enthusiastick passions. The 
latter alleged, that God was the immediate author of all 
human actions, the efficient cause of evil as well as good, and 
that man was not accountable for his conduct. The Papists 
charged these monstrous errours over to the Reformers, who 
had sent abroad the scriptures among the vulgar, and brok- 
en the chains of ignorance, which they had kindly imposed 
upon the human intellect. Infidels alleged that all the mis- 
chief and errours of each religious denomination originated 
alike from the religion of the Bible. The humble believer, 
however, undismayed by those charges and allegations, esti- 
jaiates the depravity of human nature, as a root sufficiently 
vigourous, to yield all the enthusiasm, superstition, infideli- 
ty and misery which are produced among men. To check 
the growth of those errours, and to vindicate the cause of 
Christ and the Reformation from reproach, Calvin published, 
June 1, 1544, his instructions against the errours and fanati- 
cism of the Anabaptists and Libertines.^ In his arguments 
against the latter, he points out, with great clearness, the na- 
ture of the divine sovereignty, its absolute exercise over man, 
a fallen, depraved, but still a moral and accountable being. 
He exposes, with a strong hand, the absolute falsity of the 
libertine position, that God, as the cause of all things, is the 
^Jicienf cause of evil, or author of sin. — He rejects these a??' 

* %usoula p. 356 et 374r. 

4i LIFE OF CALVIN. 1544 

sertions as blasphemous, while he maintains the scriptural 
doctrine of the absolute sovereignty of God. Calvin discri- 
mhiated clearly the limits which bounded the human intel- 
lect on that subject, and wisely stopped short of that duplex 
labt/rinthus, double labyrinth, as he calls it,# which, lies beyond 
the light of revelation. Neither Augustine, Calvinf nor Ed- 
wardsjj who thought and wrote nmch concerning the sove- 
reignty of God, will probably ever be surpassed in intellect^ 
in acquisitions or distinct apprehensions in the science of mo- 
rals, or the doctrines of religion. They neither ventured 
themselves, nor have they given license to others, but have 
left many ^^'arning counsels to prevent even their attempts to 
intrude into the secret things which belong to God.'^^ 

* In argumento Genesis. Vol. 1. ejus operum. 

f Passages might be multiplied, from the writings of Calvin, to show 
thathe totally rejected the mj/>i07/s dogma — That God is the author, or the 
efficient cause of sin — a single passage, in which he quotes Augustine, may 
here be appropriate — Men are the -work of Godf says Augustine, as they are 
men ; but tliey are in subjection to the Devily as they are sinners, until they are 
delivered from that state by Christ. — "Therefore," adds Calvin, " the ^oo</ 
are of God ; the -wicked, a eeipsis, from themselves." Opuscida Calvini 

pag. 126 see also in his tracts, in p. 62/— 629 — " Nego Deum ese mali 

authorem." Cal. in Acts ii. 23. " Neque tamen malorum autlior sit Deus." 
Cal. Lib. de prxdestinat. et passim. 

t President Edwards says — I utterly deny God to be the author of sin; re- 
jecting such an imputation on the JVIost High, as what is infinitely to be abhor' 
red ; and deny any such thing to be the consequence of -what I have laid dowJi. — 
Freedom of the will. Part IV. Sec. IX. II. 

§ It may be modestly suggested, whether some have not reproached the 
writings of Augustine, Calvin and Edwards, who still never read them, the 
sum total of whose knowledge of the works of these great men is picked up 
from mutilated scraps, selected for tlie sole purpose of prejudicing the 
minds of common readers against them ; and whether others professedly, 
and doubtless in some instances, real friends to religion, have not been 
prompted, by a desire for distinction, to make the world believe, that they 
could see farther and clearer on those speculative points, than Calvin ; and 
are thus plunging, with metaphysical enthusiasm, into the darkness of that 
double labryrinth which will bewilder many anwcary minds into scepticism 
and infidelity. 

1^45 LIFE OF CALVIN. 43 

The instructions of Calvin against tlie errours and fanati- 
cism of the Libertines gave oiience to Quint in and Poquet^ 
the two principal leaders of that sect. These two men had 
imposed upon the Queen of Navarre so far as to induce her 
to believe, that they were honest and rehgious in their prin- 
ciples and purposes, and that they were misrepresented and 
injured by Calvin in that work. A letter was written, by 
the direction of Margaret, complaining to Calvin of his seve- 
rity towards those men whom she had patronized as the 
friends of the pure doctrines. In his answer, Calvin address- 
ed her with an aifectionate respect for her piety and digni- 
ty, and with a frankness and freedom becoming a Minister of 
Christ. He opened the dangerous nature and tendency of 
their opinions to the cause of religion, obviated some re- 
proaches which they had uttered against him, and entreat- 
ed her to withdraw her patronage from such wicked and de- 
ceitful men. The letter of Calvin eifectually obstructed 
their influence in tjie court of Navarre, and prevented their 
further inroads upon the Churches of France.# 

During the ravages of the pestilence in Geneva and its 
environs, in the beginning of 1545, occurred a singular in- 
stance of human depravity. That grade of inha])itants who 
had become so poor by their vices, as to seek a daily subsist- 
ence in attending the sick and cleansing their chambers, form- 
ed an alliance for the horrid purpose of secretly spreading the 
infection. They rubbed the pestiferous matter upon the posts 
and doors of houses, and other frequented places. The 
activity of the plague, and the malignity of its ravages, were 
awfully increased, and the whole city was thrown into con- 
sternation. To prevent detection, and secure themselves 
from justice, those monsters, by a horrid oath, devoted 
themselves to the devil, if they should, under any tortures 

* See Letters, No. 50. 

44 LIFE OF CALVIN, 1545 

that might be inflicted, discover the names of any of their 
associates. The ligaments of such an oath, upon minds so 
corrupt as to take it, could have no influence. The inspired 
sentence, Be sure your sin will find you out, was ultimately 
verified in these men, most of whom were apprehended and 
sentenced to merited punishment. 

The numerous deaths by the plague, the changes of pos- 
sessions and descent of estates, with the contested rights of 
citizenship, introduced much disorder among the inhabit- 
ants. Some indulged in the most aggravated vices, and oth- 
ers committed the most licentious crimes. In addition to 
all these evils, the demagogues of party seized upon the 
goods of the Popish Bishoprick. Against this spirit of sa- 
crilegious plunder, the virtuous citizens united their exer- 
tions ; and Calvin, from the pulpit, boldly testified both 
against their leT\dness and rapacity, declaring that they 
would draw upon themselves the vindictive judgments of 
God ; A\arniiig them, that the original extortions of the 
Papists, in accumulating this property, would be no justi- 
fication for their seizing by violence, that to which they 
had neither a providential nor legal claim. 

The Waldenses, inhabiting the retired vallies of Pied- 
mont, had long struggled for their religious rights, under 
the severe pressure of Popish intolerance. Having obtain- 
ed a copy of OiivETAN's translation of the scriptures, they 
committed the whole Bible to the press in the Waldensi- 
aii tongue. Strong in the faith of the Gospel, they pub- 
lickly held their religious assemblies, and submitted to 
suflferings and privations amidst the cruelties of almost im- 
ceasing persecution. In 1536, an exterminating edict was 
published against the numerous Waldenses who inliabited 
the towns of Cambriers and Merindol. The operation of 
this decree William du Bellai, Governour of Piedmont, 
had suspended for several years. The enemies of this ihr 


ooceiit people opposed this forbearance, and accused them 
to the King of many heresies. To counteract these accu- 
gations, they presented to Francis, in 1544, the confession 
of their faith. This had been formed after the model of the 
Genevese Church, a circumstance by no means in tlieir fa- 
vour with Turnon" and the influential Papists at 
court. The adoption of more vigourous measures was urg- 
ed by Minerius Oppedeus, the new President of Provence ; 
and he obtained, through the influence of Cardinal Turnon, 
an order from the King to carry into effect the edict which 
the moderation of Bellai had suspended. Oppedeus, in the 
absence of the Governour, Count de Grignan, raised a body 
of troops which were joined ]}y others from Avignon, and 
marched against these industrious and pious people. He 
sacked and burnt their towns ; and killed, tortured and com- 
mitted the inhabitants to the flames without respecting ei- 
ther age or sex. He inhumanly destroyed all, who did not 
escape beyond discovery to the caves of the mountains, or flee 
beyond his reach within the hospitable walls of Geneva, and 
the reformed cities of Switzerland. # 

Having aided them, by his counsels and letters, in estab- 
lishing their faith, Calvin was greatly afflicted at their ca- 
lamities. He had, for several years, applied himself to the 
German Princes, to procure their influence with Francis for 
the humane purpose of securing these persecuted people in 
the peaceful enjoyment of those religious rights which they 
accounted dearer than life. These expectations were blasted 
at a stroke, by this exterminating persecution. He still, how- 
ever, found a place for the exercise of his parental care, by 
extending to these sorrowful fugitives assistance and conso- 

* Dupin. Eccl. Hist. 16, Book 2, p. 184. 


Andrew Osiandcr, an early disciple of Luther, published 
a work against the Zuinglians upon the Eucharist.^ He call- 
ed up not only all the old peculiarities on that subject, but 
sharpened afresh all that bitterness of invective which Lu- 
ther himself had too much indulged. Osiander was one of 
those persons who only feel themselves to be of importance in 
a storm. The followers of Zuinglius, and the adherents of 
Luther, had permitted, for a time, those points of debate, 
^vhich they had so long and severely agitated, about the re- 
al presence in the elements of the supper, to be much at rest. 
IVTelancthon, Bucer and Calvin were studious to cover the 
coals if they could not entirely quench them. But this 
haughty and vehement man kindled up afresh, from those 
sleeping ashes, the consuming fire of controversy. Calvin 
was deeply afflicted at the revival of those pernicious dis- 
putes among Churches, wliose diiierences were almost wholly 
confined to that single point. In his letter to Melancthon, 
he laments the imprudence and bitterness of Osiander ; and 
especially liis abusive treatment of Zuinglius, the first Re- 
former of the Swiss Churches, and of the amiable CEcolam- 
padius. But he was far more deeply distressed at the 
wounds inflicted on the cause of the Saviour. — Let us mourn^ 
he 6ays,/©r it becomes us to be afflicted with the troubles of 
the Church ; but let us still sustain ourselves with this hopCy 
that although we are oppressed and tossed by these mighty wa- 
ters, we shall not be overwhelmed.-f 

Luther himself was deeply engaged in this controversy. 
About 15i3, Gualter of Zurich published the works of Zuin- 
glius with an apology for his doctrine, which gave offence to 
the German Reformer. The same year, the translation of the 
scriptures into the German language, commenced by Leo Ju- 
dah, was finislicd and published by Bullinger and the other 

* Moshcim, Cent. 16, p. 45, 47, Note, 
t See Letters, No. 31 and 35. 


Pastors of Zurich. The bookseller sent a copy of this Bible 
to Luther, who was highly offended, apprehending that it 
would be a means of supporting the opinion of Zuingllus 
concerning the nature of the Lord's supper. He wrote a let- 
ter to the bookseller, which should not have contained expres- 
sions so unworthy of that great man. In loii, Luther also 
published a short confession concerning the Lorcfs supper ; # 
in the introduction to which he used a wantonness of lan- 
guage, and a roughness of reproach, with such anathema?, 
against Bullinger and the other Pastors of Zurich, as admit 
neither of translation nor even apology; except it may be 
said, such was the temperament of the man, and such his 
blind attachment to his favourite dogma, that the real hochj 
and blood of Christ were in, with, or under the consecrated bread 
and nine at the Lord^s supper. It was to this last work of 
Luther that Calvin alludes, in the subsequent extract of his 
letter to Bullinger, dated Geneva, Nov. 25, 15i4. 

" Calvin to Bullinger wishes health. 

"I hear that Luther ha* 

at length burst forth, with atrocious invectives, not only 
against you but against us all. Now I scarcely dare beg of 
you and your colleagues, to be silent, because it is not just 
that the innocent should be thus abused, and not be allowed 
to defend themselves ; and besides it is difficult to determine, 
whether it is expedient. I wish you to recal these things to 
your mind : How great a man Luther is, and with how 
great gifts he excels ; also with what fortitude and constancy 
of mind, with what ejQ5cacy of learning, he hath hitherto la- 
boured and watched to destroy the kingdom of Antichrist, 
and to propagate, at the same time, the doctrine of salvation. 

* Seckendorf, Vol. 2, p. 420, and list of Lutlici-'s writings in indcK TTT 
DUpin, Cent. 16. b. 11. p. 177. 


I often sai/y if he should call me a devil, I hold him in such ho- 
nour, that I would acknowledge him an eminent servant of God. '^ 
— But as he is endowed with great virtues, so he labours un- 
der great failings. I wish he had studied more effectually 
to restrain his impetuosity of temper, which breaks forth in 
every direction ; that he had always turned this vehemence, 
which is so natural to him, against the enemies of the truth, 
and not equally brandished it against the servants of God ; 
and that he had given more diligent labour, to search out 
his o\vn faults. He has been surrounded by too many flat- 
terers, seeing he is also too much inclined by nature to in- 
dulge himself. It is our duty to reprehend Avhat is evil in 
him, in such a manner as to yield very much to his excellent 
qualities. Consider, I beseech you, with your colleagues, in 
the first place, that you have to deal with a chief servant of 
Christ, to whom we are all much indebted- And then, that 
by contending, you will effect nothing, but a pleasure to the 
impious, who will triumph, not so much over us as over the 
Gospel. For reviling one another, they will give us more 
than full credit. But when we preach Christ witli one con- 
sent, and one mouth, they pervert this union, to diminish our 
faith, by which they disclose, more than they would, the im- 
portance of our united labours. I wish you to examine and 
reflect upon these things, rather than dwell on what Luther 
has merited by his intemperate language. Lest that befall 
us, therefore, which Paul denounces, that by biting and de- 
vouring one another ^\'e should be consumed, however he 
may have provoked us, we must rather al^stain from the con- 
test, than^increase the A\ound, to the conunon injury of the 

* Luther, in his asperity ag-ainst the Zuinglians, Bullinger and otliers, 
had used harsh language ; and Calvin, wlio was anxious to prevent tlie con- 
troversy, states his own feelings, supposing Lutlier should call him a devilt 
fcc. to allay the resentment of Bullinger and tlie other Pastors of Zurichr 

154i5 LIFE OF CALVIN. 49 

The persecutions in France, at this time, induced some per- 
sons who adhered to the Reformers in private, to conform to 
the externals of Popery, in order to shield themselves from 
chains and death. Calvin disapproved of their conduct, and 
published a tract# exposing such a conformity to the Pa- 
pists as inconsistent with their duties to their families and 
the cause and commands of Christ. These persons, who 
were for compromising their religion for the favour of the 
world, complained of the principles which Calvin had es- 
tablished, as the rules of duty for the professed followers of 
Christ, as too rigid and severe. They, appealed to the ad- 
vice of Luther and Melancthon, expecting more favourable 
terms. Calvin, at their request, addressed a letter to Luther, 
and another to Melancthon,f accompanied by his treatise, and 
a subsequent defence^ of it. In this defence he gave them 
the appellation of Psemlo-Nicodemites, as they had justified 
their covert acknowledgment of Christ, by the example 
of Nicodcmus, in visiting Jesus by night. It does not ap- 
pear that Luther answered the letter of Calvin. But Ble- 
lancthon gave his opinion in full and decisive language. 
In allusion to the feelings of Calvin al^out the controversy of 
Osiander, expressed in the sentence quoted above, Melanc- 
thon concludes his letter in these words, — April 17th, the daij 
on which Noah, 384-6 7/ears ago, entered the ark, hy ivhich 
example, God testifies that he will not forsake his Church, 
when tossed on the mighty waters.^ Those two tracts of Cal- 
vin, with the letter of Melancthon, and tliose of Bucer and 
Peter Martyr^f annexed, were published in 1546. Three 
years after, Bullinger, and the other Pastors of Zurich, ad- 
dressed a letter to Calvin, approbating the doctrine which he 

* See Opuscula Calvini, p. 434. Be vitcmdis Supcrstitionibus. 
I See Letters, No. 31. 

4 Opuscula Cal. p. 444. J Opus. Cal. p. 4)7. 

If See Notes No. 13. 



had supported, That It jvas unlaivful for any Christian to 
appear to assent to those false doetrines and that supersti- 
tion which in his heart he condemns. 

A young fri^n, by llie name of Troilelt, having coun- 
terfeited the hermit in France, returned to Geneva about 
this time, with an assumed appearance of piety. Calvin, 
remarkable for his penetration in distinguishing the dispo- 
sitions of persons, and their real from their avowed opi- 
nions, soon discovered the hypocrisy of Troilett, and gave 
liim in a private conversation his advice. He however, 
aided by others, became still more obtrusive in his man- 
ners, in the meetings of the congregation. At length Cal- 
vin gave him a public reprimand, for his unbecoming and 
disorderly conduct. Incensed at this, he readily found 
those who justified and encouraged his audacity ; and, on 
the death of one of the jMinisters, he demanded to be in- 
troduced into the vacancy. The Senate interposed their 
authority, and ordered an enquiry to be made respecting 
his character. The Ministers of the Genevese Chm'ches 
laid before the Senate the reasons of their objections, that 
he was by party influence, and the low arts of intrigue, 
pushing himself forward to the pastoral olHce •, that the 
baseness of his morals w^as evinced by the surreptitious 
letters, which he had produced to support a lame charac- 
ter; and that, in consequence of this fact, he was even 
now the sport of his own faction. The Senate ordered the 
ecclesiastical laws to be enforced against him, and he w^as 

In the beginning of the year 154:0, Charles V. and Paul 
III. concerted a plan which, in its result, w^as designed to 
eilrct injuriously the dearest interests of the German and 
Swiss Reformers. So confident was the Pope of success, 

* Epist^ Calvini ad Farellum, dat. Sept. 8. 

1546 LIFE OF CAIAIN. 51 

that in July he addressed a letter* to the Swiss, declaring 
his determination to unite his forces with the Empcrour's, 
and revenge their contumaciousness by an exterminating war. 
The Swiss were thrown into great consternation by this letter, 
and by the measures of CliarJes, who had put the Elector of 
Saxony and the Landgrave of Hesse under the Ban of the 
Empire, more effectually to ruin tJiem by exposing their 
dominions to every species of lawless depredation. f The 
Emperour managed in the most artful manner, to divide and 
awaken those States Avhich were deeply interested to be united 
in their common defence ; and with no less duplicity he led 
the Pope into all his measures, by holding out to him the 
advantages which the Romish Church ^v ould derive from 
suppressing the Protestants. In both respects he succeedexl 
beyond his expectations. After multiplied disasters, those 
Princes were humbled at his feet, and yielded to such terms 
as this haughty man saw expedient to prescribe. J The accu= 
mulated fruits of years appeared in a moment to be swept away, 
from themselves and their children ; their hopes of the Re- 
formation blasted ; and their dearest interests in the visible 
Church sinking into the grave with their venerable Reform- 
er.^ Death, by many, was embraced as a happy de- 
liverance from the distresses which they felt, and the more 
tempestuous trials which they feared. The fugitive breth- 
ren gave to the reformed Churches the most dismal tidings 
of the ruin of their cause. The intimate friends of Calvin, 
Bucer, IMelancthon and many others, Avere borne down with 
anguish, and their lives threatened with imminent danger. 
The letters of Bucer conveyed the feelings of his heart in 
the concise language of grief : O my Calvin ! is not God thus 
wanting to his promises^ because ive have despised them ? 

* Dupin Eccl. Hist. 16 Cent. B. 3, p. 34. 

f Dupin, 16 Cent. B, 3, p. 39. 

t Dupin p. 73. § Luther died February 18, 154G. 

32 LIFE OF CALVIxN. 1546 

How suddcnii/, all our loftiness is fallen into baseness and mise- 
rij ? — Beseech the Lord fervently for the health of this Churchy 
that she may learn to lose her lifey that she may save it.^ — 
Amidst these convulsions, the soul of Calvin while he sympa- 
thized in their sorrows, Avas still undismayed. Firm as the 
rocks of his country, and with views far more elevated than 
her mountains afford, he looked abroad over all the darkness 
of Pontifical impiety and imperial ambition, which, like the 
clouds of morning mist, winding around their tops, transient- 
ly dissolved, before the visions of faith, and passed away be- 
neatli the light of the promises and the Providence of the 
Redeemer. The Pope discovered too late, that the disguised 
policy of Charles was directing all his measures to the accu- 
mulation of his own power ; that with all his means to crush 
the Protestant and establish the Romish worship, he had 
done nothing, but negotiate with the enemies of Popery, on 
terms that would best secure his personal domination ; and, 
apprehensive that his next step would be to dictate laws to 
the States of Italy, he suddenly withdrew his troops, prefer- 
ring that the Protestants should abide in their strength, as a 
check upon this ambitious and perfidious man. The Pope 
was thus turned back by the way which he came, disappointed 
of his purpose, and dismayed at the influence which he had 
thrown into the hands of Charles. 

During the troubles in Germany, the Genevese were agita- 
ted with internal factions. Ammi Perrin, a man of consum- 
mate vanity, audacity and ambition, headed the unruly and 
disaffected in that city. By the suffrages of the people, lie 
had Ijecn elected to the office of Captain General of Geneva. 
From this circumstance, and the singularity of his manners, 
Calvin, usually in his letters to Farel and Viret, designated 
him by the title of Comicus C\csar, the comical Emperovr. 

• Epist. Cahini, p. 45, et 4,%. 

154r LIFE OF CALVIiN. 53 

Exposed by their immoralities to ecclesiastical censures, Per- 
rin and his associates concerted a plan to weaken and destroy 
the influence of Calvin. Two of the colleague Pastors, becom- 
ing from their intemperance liable to the severity of the laws, 
instigated one of the Senators to accuse Calvin of teaching 
false doctrine. The Senator, who brought the accusation, 
was summoned before the Council, and the matter being heard, 
he was sentenced, as a calumniator, and the two Pastors were 
deposed from their office, and forliidden to frequent the 
•^ine shops. 

Amidst these difficulties, Calvin laboured to evince that the 
Gospel which he announced was not a matter of refined spe- 
culation, or worldly convenience, but the high calling of God, 
the supreme business of a Christian's life. The plain instruc- 
tions of Calvin gave offence to those ^vho wished to revel in 
licentious amusements, and yet be treated as good and whol- 
some members of the Church. Perrin and some others, fall- 
ing under censure, Avere anxious to escape the judgment of the 
Consistory, and pleaded that the trial for criminal conduct 
should come only before the Senate. The Consistory urged, 
in defence of their rights, that the system of discipline had 
been sanctioned, as conformable to the word of God ; and im- 
plored the support of the Senate, that the Church might re- 
ceive no injury. The Senate decreed, that the ecclesiastical 
laws should be observed, and established the sentence against 
the delinquents. The violence of Perrin and his associates 
was greatly increased in their endeavours to raise disorder and 
sedition in the city. To allay the increasing evils, the Coun- 
oil of two hundred WTre convoked to meet on the lOth of Sep- 
tember, 1547. On the preceding day, Calvin informed his 
colleagues, that tumults would pro})ably be excited by the 
factious, and that it was his intention, to be i)resent at the 
meetuig. Accordingly Calvin, accompanied by his colleagues, 
proceeded to the Council house, but arrived before tlir ap- 

54 LIFE OF CALVIN. lo4r 

pointed time. Seeing- many persons walking about tlie door, 
they retired through an adjoining gate and were unnoticed. 
They had not been long in this retreat, l^efore they lieard 
loud and confused clamours, Avhich instantly increased with 
all the signs of sedition. Calvin ran to the place, and though 
the aspect of things was terrible, he advanced into the midst 
of the violent and noisy crov/d. His presence struck them 
with astonishment. ITis friends pressed around him, 
as a defence. He raised his voice, and solemnly declared, 
that he came to oppose his body to their swords, and if they 
ivere determined to shed any blood, he exhorted them to be- 
gin with his. The heat of the sedition abated. On entering 
the Senate chamber, he found a more violent contest. He 
pressed between the parties, when they were upon the point 
of drawing their swords for mutual slaughter, in the very 
sanctuary of justice. Like an Angel of peace, he arrested 
the fury of the faction, and having brought the assembly to 
their seats, he addressed them in a continued and impressive 
oration. He pointed out to the seditious their crimes, and 
the puljlick evils 'which must inevitably follow upon indulg- 
ing in such immoralities and factions ; and denounced upon 
them the judgments of God, if they should persist in such 
iniquities. The eifects of this address were so deeply felt, by 
the seditious themselves, that they commended him for his 
interposition, which had arrested their bloody attack upon 
the Senates 

Soon after this, the wife of Perrin was called before the 
Consistory for her improper conduct. She became petulant, 
and hitemperatcly added insult to abuse. After being re- 
proved without ciTect by Pouppinus, one of the IMinisters, 
she was referred to the Senate, and by their order confined in 
prison. She made her escape, and meeting Pouppinus with- 

* Culvin's Letter to Viret, dated Sept. 17, 1547, in ejus Epistolis. 

1547 LIFE OF CALVIN. 55 

out the gates of the city, attacked him ^vith the most a])usive 
language. The next day a libel was found alfixed to the 
pulpit, in v/liich the Pastors were threatened with death, if 
they persisted in their adjierence to the rules of discipline 
and publick reproof. The Senate ordered a strict enquiry 
after the conspirators. One James Cruet was apprehended, 
and his papers examined. Among these were letters and 
other writings, which insulted the Senate and the laws of tlie 
Republick ; threatened the life of Calvin ; ridiculed the scrip- 
tures as false ; abused the Saviour ; and called the immorta- 
lity of the soul a ckeam and a fable. # Convicted of these 
and other crimes against the city and Senate, Gruet was sen- 
tenced to death, and pul^lickly beheaded. Perrin and his 
wife retired from Geneva. Calvin, however, interceded 
with the Senate to remit their sentence against her, upon her 
showing any signs of repentance. But this interposition pro- 
duced no effect upon the mind of this outrageous woman. 

Amidst those conflicts, Calvin was watchful over the in- 
terest of the reformed Churches of France. In August, he 
addressed a letter to the Church of Rohan to counteract the 
errours of a Franciscan Friar, who was labouring, to ijuposc 
upon that people the corruptions of the heresy of Carpocra- 

The interests of the Protestant Churches of Germany were 
at this time endangered by the proceedings of the famcui 
Council of Trent,"]: which was called by Paul III., and open- 
ed in that city January 7, 154G. Between that time and 
March, 1547, it held seven sessions. The acts of this last 
general Council were published for the special purpose of con- 
demning the opinions of Zuinglius, Luther and their follow- 

* Calvin's leUer to Viret, July 2, 1547, In Epis. 

t" Calvini Opuscula p. 403. Carpocrates was author of a pernicious heresy 
in the 2d. Century. Mosh. vol. 1, p. 184, and liccs' Cyclopedia, 
t Dupin, 16 CenU Hist, of Gouii. Trent. 

56 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1548 

ers. To rectify their misrepresentations, and false statements, 
of the conduct and principles of the Reformers, Calvin pub- 
lished, in November, 1547, an antidote against the seven ses- 
sions of the Council of Trent. In this he recited the acts of 
eacli session, and replied with energy and effect-^ 

In the mean time, the faction of Perrin became anxious to 
have their leader restored to his office and influence in the 
city. They proposed a settlement of all the subsisting diffi- 
culties, and requested that Viret should be called from 
Lausanne, to assist in effectuating this object. Calvin ac- 
cordingly wrote to Viret and Farel.f These Ministers came 
to Geneva, and through their address and influence, and at 
the request of Calvin, the Senate reluctantly, because jealous 
of tlie dissimulation of Perrin, restored him to his office, af- 
ter the Consistory had removed the sentence of excommuni- 
cation. This accommodation took place in the beginning 
of 1548. 

However Farel, Viret and Calvin might have expected 
that this accommodation would be permanent, they soon 
found, that Perrin and his faction had pursued those mea- 
sures of peace, in order the more extensively to effect their 
hostile purpose. Tliey threw off the mask by degrees, and 
with increased impudence proceeded to vent their malice 
against Calvin, in those methods which are the last resorts of 
meanness. Some cut their corslets in the form of a cross ; 
others named their dogs Calvin ; some changed his name in- 
to Cain ; and a few abstained from the Supper of the Lord, 
to express their hatred of the Pastor. Conscious of his own 
integrity, Calvin, unmoved by these reproaches, pursued the 
regular course of duty, and procured the arraignment of 
these revilers before the Senate, for their contemptuous con- 
duct towards the ministry. Being convicted, they sanction- 

* Cal. Opus. p. 226. 

t Epist. C'alvini, to Viret, March, 1547. To Farel, August, 154". 

1548 LIFE OF CALVIN. o7 

ed anew the terms of reconciliation with their oaths, on the 
18th of December, and for a season their factious proceed- 
ings were suppressed. 

Having obtained complete success in the battle of JMuUi- 
berg on the Elbe, in the spring of 15 ir, and made the Elect- 
or of Saxony and the Landgrave of Hesse prisoners, the Eni- 
perour, to make sure of his ambitious purposes, called a Diet 
at Augsburg. After much opposition from the Pope, and 
fruitless delays from their mutual jealousies, he determined 
to settle, agreeable to his own wishes, tlie religious order of 
his own dominions. He accordingly published, May 15, 
1518,# a system of doctrine and worship, designed to regu- 
late the Churches of Germany, till another Council should 
be convened. This Formula was called the Interim. It 
artfully covered the substance of Popery, with some ac- 
commodating expressions, to quiet the Protestants, under the 
imperial authority. In the general alarm and resentment, 
it engaged the attention of Calvin. He exposed the oppres- 
sive measures of Charles ; unmasked this system of hypocri- 
sy, as he examined it step by step ; and demonstrated its 
noxious tendency to subvert the foundation of the Protestant 
cause.f During this year, amidst the vexatious factions of 
his own Church, Calvin, as though surrounded by a perfect 
calm, completed and published his learned commentaries 
on the Epistles of the Apostle Paul. And also, in a small 
but elegantly written work, he exposed, with much acuteness, 
the falsity and folly of judicial astrology. 

Bucer, having read the Interim at the request of the 
Elector of Brandenburg, plainly told him, " that it was no- 
thing but downright Popery, only a little disguised." The 
Elector was highly offended, and Bucer, not without great 

* See Burnet's Hist, of the Reformation, vol.2, p. 81. Dupin, 16 Cent, 
t See Opuscuh Thsologiea Calvini, p. 260. 



hazard, returned to Strasburg. Germany, which had been 
the sanctuary of the persecuted Pteformers from Italy and 
France, Avas now threatened with an overwhehning storm ; 
and many of her Ministers were compelled to shelter them- 
selves in obscure retreats, or to take refuge in Switzerland and 
England. Henry VIII. was succeeded, in 1547, by his son Ed- 
ward VI., a youth distinguished for his piety and early at- 
tachment to the cause of the Reformation. The venerable 
Cranmer, with others under the auspices of the Lord Pro- 
lector and the Prince, had entered on the work of purifying 
the Church, with moderation and wisdom. To forward, in 
the best manner, the laborious undertaking, they judged it 
expedient to ask the assistance of some of the experienced 
Reformers from Germany. For this purpose, Cranmer ad- 
dressed letters, in the name of the King,# to Peter JMartyr, 
at Strasburg, requesting him and others to come into Eng- 
land. IMartyr, with Bernard Ochinus, arrived in England in 
Nov. 15 ir. Martyr was appointed Divinity Professor at Ox- 
ford ; Ochinus was made a Canon of Canterbury ; and a sa- 
lary of forty marks was settled on each of tliem by the King. 
The letters of ^Martyr conveyed to his friends the account 
of the changes which were taking place in England, in ec- 
clesiastical matters, and excited the attention of Calvin and 
Bucer. " Calvin ^wrote," sai/s Bishop Burnet, " to the rro- 
tcctor on the 29th of October,! encouraging him to go on, 
notwithstanding the wars, as He^ekias had done in his Re- 
formation. He lamented the heats of some that professed the 
Gospel ; but complained that he heard there were few live- 
ly sermons preached in England ; and that tlie Preachers recit- 
ed their discourses coldly. He much approves of a set form 

* Burnet's Hist, of the Reformation, vol. 2, p. 50. 

f Idem, p 83. The three editions of Calvin's Letters which 1 have be- 
fore me, of Geneva, Hannau and Amsterdam, all have this letter dated Oc- 
tober 2?. 

1549 LIFE OF CALVIN. 59 

of prayers, whereby the consent of all the Churches did more 
manifestly appear. But he advises a more complete Keform- 
ation. He taxed the prayers for the dead, the use of chrism 
and extreme tmction, since tliey ,*ere no where recommend- 
ed m scripture. He had heard, that the reason why tliey 
went no farther, was, because the times would not bear it- 
But this was to do the work of God by political ma.iu>s •' 
which, though they ought to take place in other thi«g« yet 
should not be followed in matters in which the salvation of the 
soui IS concerned. But above all, he complained of the impie- 
ties and vices which were so common in England ; as swca.-- 
ing, drmkmg and uncleanness, and prayed him earnestly that 
these things might be looked after." Such is the account 
which Burnet* gives of the elegant letter of Calvin to the 
Duke of Somerset.^ When Nicolaus, the messenger, deliver- 
ed It to the Duke, and informed him that he had another 
lor the King, he graciously undertook the office of delivering 
It, and ,ventthe next day to the palace, where it was ret 
ceived with great pleasure by the young monarch and the 
royal Council. Cranmer informed Nicolaus, that Calvin 
could do nothing more useful than to write often to the 
Aing.J: Bucer still remained at Strasburg, but the troubles 
in Germany about the Interim daily increasing, he yiekled 
to the request of Archbishop Cranmer, and ,vith Paul Fa-i- 
us^ arrived in England in the spring of 1519.11 Bucer ^^s 

thi's totcr b"?,?'""; '." '"\'''^'°^y °f "'^ Presbyterians, gives ™ account of 
tlus letter, but not the cndour and correctness of Burnet. Heylin is 

tlieking See Ucvlin, Hist. Prcsb n 12 + «!«o i «. xr o. 

*,ettertorareUateaaune^:^:55t,n j:;;.i::'^^^^^ ""• "• 
TesZlltTolyiT ™P"'><=<J''' Cambridge to translate the Old 
Gre k ButZ ,^ '"' ""' ""^^^ '"^ New Testament from the 

Gieek. But these works were not completed. Fagius died Nov. 15 15S0 

60 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1549 

appointed Professor of Tlieology at Cambridge, and gave 
Calvin an account of the state of religion in that country. 
Considering the temporizing spirit of Bucer, and the exten- 
sive benefit he might render the English Church, Calvin, in 
his an£\ver,# advised him to be decisive and express on the 
subject of the Lord's Supper, and effectually consoled him 
in his exile from Strasburg. 

The expediency of submitting to the Interim had excited 
a controversy among the Saxon Divines. Melancthon and 
others concurred in the opinion, that in matters of an indif- 
ferent nature compliance was due to the imperial edicts. 
Under this covert, they sheltered themselves from persecu- 
tion, while in appearance they connived at the imposition of 
the substance of Popery upon the reformed Churches. JMat- 
thias Flacius, with others, attacked those evasive divines, 
and with an overbearing intolerance and bitterness accused 
^Iclancthon of apostacy from the true doctrines. Calvin, at 
their request, wrote Melancthon an admonitory letter. Con- 
sidering his anxieties lest Melancthon had yielded too much 
on tliis occasion, this letter is an uncommon instance of faith- 
ful friendsliip to that distinguished man, and of supreme re- 
gard to the cause of Christ.f 

While the German Churches were thus oppressed by the 
severity of Charles, and multiplying their difficulties by per- 
sonal dissensions, the Swiss were making important advances 
in composing their differences of opinion about the Eucha- 
rist. Luther, after the interview of IMarpurg in 1529, had been 
most vehemently tenacious in maintaining the doctrine of Con- 
subsiantifition. Zuinglius, BuUinger, Calvin and others were 
decidedly opposed to this doctrine, as l^eing nothing essen- 
tially different in absurdity from the Romish Transuhstantia- 
tion. IMelaiicthon, Bucer and Calvin were anxious io keep 
all the Churches in fellowship, and had used accommodating: 

* Sec Letters, No. 3fi. f See Letters, No. .T*;. 


terms in explaining tlie presence of Christ in the elements of 
the Supper. In consequence of this, Calvin was represented 
as holding the opinion of Luther that, after the consecration 
of the elements, the body and blood of Christ are substan- 
tially present, together with the substance of tlie bread and 
wine. To remove these unfounded suspicions, Calvin repair- 
ed with Farel to Zurich, and in a pubHck conference Sv^t- 
tled the agitated question on the permanent basis of a writ- 
ten confession. The articles were approved ]:)y the other 
Swiss Churches, and the Church of Zurich was thus united 
to that of Geneva, and Bullinger to Calvin, in rene^ved and 
durable bonds of amity. "^ 

Loelius Socinus, of Sienna, who injudiciously indulged 
himself in curious and scholastick questions, having some 
acquaintance with Calvin, addressed to him several en- 
quiries of a theological nature. Calvin answered his ques- 
tions about the resurrection and other points ; and at the 
«ame time suspecting his opinions, he plainly advised him to 
check his ardent desire for unprofitable speculations, as the 
Indulgence might be the occasion of much evil to him in the 
cnd.f This man was artful in concealing his own wayward 
opinions, under the form of questions to be discussed, as 
though he was seeking for light, when his real ol^ject ^vas to 
puzzle and undermine the opinions of others, and draw them 
into darkness and doubt. He appears to have profited so 
far by the admonitions of Calvin as to have concealed the 
extent of his presumptuous speculations, not only from him 
but also from Melancthon and Camerarius. After his death, 
it was ascertain(;d that he was the principal author of those 
opinions which have given a new appellation to an old he- 
resy. Faustus Socinus obtained at Zurich the papers of his 
uncle, from which the notions of the Paulicians were re- 

* See Tract.^heolog. Calvini, p. 648, dated August 1, 1549. 
f Two letters to Socinus, in Epist.Calvini ; the last dated Ucceir.ber, 1 .U9. 


vived, That the Almighty Saviour is a mere man, and the 
Holy Spirit a mere attribute ; and that the essential doctrines 
of the Gospel, original sin, the atonement, and the agency 
and grace of the Holy Spirit are not taught in the scrips 
lures. # 

Not^^ithstanding the conflicts with which the Genevese 
Church had struggled, her numbers were increased, and on 
account of the persecutions which prevailed in France and 
Germany, and the wars in both countries, many respectable 
strangers had sought refuge in this independent city, where 
they were received by Calvin with great kindness. The 
divine blessing rested upon his labours, both as Professor of 
Theology and Pastor of that Church, while his reputation 
and the influence of his WTituigs were extensively increasing 
in the Churches abroad. 

Early in the spring of this year, the faith and fortitude of 
Calvin were brought to a severe trial. The companion, 
who had for about nine years cherished him in the most af- 
fectionate manner, was removed by death in March, 1549. 
She was comely in her person,f amiable in her manners, and 
devoutly humble in her religious duties ; and her death 
was to Calvin, amidst his labours and infirmities, an irrepa- 
rable loss. His strong and habitual faith, however, enabled 
him to submit, with exemplary calmness and constancy, to 
this chastising stroke from the hand of divine sovereigntj'. 
On this interesting occasion, he shall speak for himself. 

" Calvin to Farel. 

'* The report of the death of my wife has doubtless reach- 
ed you before this. I use every exertion in my power not 
to be entirely overcome with heaviness of heart. My friends, 
who arc about me, omit nothing that can aiford any allevi- 

' Sac Raylc. Art. Fausl. Socinus. Notes'. f Bayle. 


ation to the depression of my mind. When your brother 
left UP, vv^e almost despaired of her life. On Tuesday, all 
the brethren being present, we united in prayer. Fouppi- 
nus then, in the name of the rest, exhorted her to faith and 
patience. In a few words, (for she was very feeble,) she 
gave evidence of the state of her mind. After this I added an 
exhortation, such as I thought suitable to tlie occasion. As 
she had not mentioned her children, I was apprehensive that 
from delicacy she might cherish in her mind an anxiety 
more painful than her disease ; and I declared before the 
brethren, that I ^vould take the same care of them as if they 
were my own. She answered, / have already commciulcd 
them to the Lord, When I observed that this did not lessen 
my obligation of duty to them, she answered immediately. 
If the Lord takes theni under his protcetion, I hioiv theij nill 
he entrusted to your care. The elevation of her mind was 
so great that she appeared to be raised above this world. 
On the day when she gave up her soul to the Lord, our bro- 
ther Borgonius, a little before 6 o'clock, opened to her the 
consolations of the Gospel, during which she frequently ex- 
claimed, so that we all perceived that her affections were on 
things above. The words she uttered were, glorious Re- 
surrection I — God of Abraham, and of all our fathers I — The 
faithful have, for so many ages, hoped in thee, and not one has 

been disappointed. / will also hope. These short sen^ 

tences she rather ejaculated, than pronounced with a conti- 
nued voice. She did not catch them from others. But by 
these few words she manifested the thoughts which exercif- 
€d her mind, and the meditations which she cherished in 
her own heart. At 6 o'clock I was compelled to leave home. 
After seven they shifted her position, and she immediately 
began to fail. Perceiving her voice beginning to falter, 
she said. Let us pray — Let us pray — Fray for mc, aU of you. 
-^At this tiflie I entn-ed the kou?e. Slie lyas unable tt) 

64 LIFE OF CALVliV 1549 

speak, but gave signs of an agitated mind. I said a few 
things concerning the grace of Christ, the hope of eternal 
life, our domestick intercourse and fellowship, and our de- 
parture from this society and union. I retired to pray. She 
>\'as attentive to the instruction, and heard the prayers with 
a sound mind. Before 8 o'clock she breathed her last so 
placidly, that those present could not distinguish the mo- 
ment which closed her life. — I now suppress the sorrow of 
my lieart, and give myself no remission from my official du- 
ties. But the Lord still exercises me Avith other troubles. 
Farewell, dear and faithful brother. May the Lord Jesus 
strengthen you by his spirit, and me also in this so gi-eat ca- 
lamity, which would inevitably have overpowered me unless 
from heaven he had stretched forth his hand, whose office it 
is to raise the fallen, to strengthen the weak, and to refresh 
the weary. Salute all the brethren and your whole family. 
" Yours, JOHN CALVIN. 

« Geneva, April 11, 1549." 

" Calvin to Viret. 

" Although the death of my wife is a very severe afflictioH^ 
yet I repress, as nmch as I am able, the sorrow of my heart. 
My friends also afford every anxious assistance, yet with all 
our exertions we effect less, in assuaging my grief than I 
could wish ; but still the consolation which I do obtain I can- 
not express. You know the tenderness of my mind, or rather 
with what effeminacy I yield under trials ; so that without 
the exercise of much moderation, I could not have supported 
the pressure of my sorrow. Certainly it is no common occa- 
sion of grief. I am deprived of a most amiable partner, 
who, wliatever might have occurred of extreme endurance, 
would have been my willing companion, not only in exile 
and poverty, but even in death. While she lived she was 

1549 LIFE OF CALVIN. 6:5 

indeed the faithful helper of my ministry, and on no oc- 
casion did I ever experience from her any inten'uptlon. 

" For your friendly consolation I return you my sincere 
thanks. Farewell, my dear and faithful brother. ]\Iay the 
Lord Jesus watch over and direct you and your ^dfe. To 
her and the brethren express my best salutation. 

" Yours, JOHxN CALVIN. 

** April 7, 1549." 

" ViRET TO Calvin. 

" The things which are related to me, by the united testi- 
mony of the most respectable witnesses, concerning the forti- 
tude and equanimity of your mind, under this so severe fa- 
mily wound and domestick grief, aiford me reason to suppose, 
that I should congratulate rather than console you in my 
letter ; especially as I am perfectly aware of that whicli you 
call the tenderness of your mind. This quality may, with 
more propriety, be ascribed to you than effeminacy, as your 
conduct fully proves the last to be inapplicable to your dis- 
position. On this account, I the more admire the influence 
of that divine Spirit which operates in you ; and abundantly 
proves himself by his fruits worthy of the name of the true 
Comforter. And may I not justly acknowledge the power of 
that Spirit in you, since you bear, with so composed a mind, 
those domestick misfortunes, which with the greatest possi- 
ble severity most intimately aifect your heart, which was al- 
ways so easily moved at the calamities of others, and so ac- 
customed to feel them as if they w^re your own. Believe 
me, your fortitude is uncommon, and so is the testimony of 
divine benevolence towards you. This makes me greatly 
ashamed of myself, that in a similar affliction I did not ex. 


ercise tlie same fortitude, nor even arrive at the least shadow 
of it. I was so overpowered and prostrated by that stroke of 
adversity, tliat the whole earth appeared to me nothing but a 
mere wilderness. Every thing was unpleasant ; tliere was no 
object which could assuage the sorrow of my soul. I often 
accused myself of bearing my aiTliction with much less forti- 
tude, than was becoming my station, and still less becoming 
a man who had embraced the doctrine of divine wisdom, at 
its first appearance, professing myself not only a disciple, but 
a teacher of others ; because I was unable to use those reme - 
dies, in my own sufferings, which I prescribed to others un- 
der like trials. But you, on the contrary, are so far from be- 
ing dejected and disheartened, that you inspire others with 
new strength by your example; testifying that you have 
done that yourself which you recommended to others, and 
thus you are able, when in health, to give the best counsels to 
the sick, and in your own trials can draw consolation from 
them, and conduct yourself as though all was well. It com- 
forted me beyond measure, when I was informed, not by vague 
rumours, but by so many messengers, that you went through 
ail the duties of your office, with a readiness and ease, great- 
er than usual, and that you were always present in body and 
mind, at all your meetings, sermons, and all publick and pri- 
vate duties, to the admiration of all ; and that you did this 
especially at the time, when your sorrows were recent, and 
had the keenest edge to wound and destroy your constancy. 
Proceed therefore with the same stability ; and so conduct 
yourself as to confirm this opinion of you in the minds of all, 
that you have always exercised that presence of mmd, which 
this ailliction has not so disturbed, and that repose which 
it has not so interrupted, but that you were able to discern, 
and command with ease, all those things which could tend 
to comfort you. Tliat you may do this, and persevere in 
your course m ith fortitude, and receive daily an increase of 


strength, and more ample consolation, is my most fervent 
prayer to God. And what more can I do to assist you ? 
For I have neither the inQuence of authority, nor the acute- 
ness of reasoning, to withdraw or dissuade you from tJiis se- 
vere conflict of sorrow, unless your own mind supplies you 
with resohition in bearing this cross, through the exuberant 
grace of divine goodness, from which proceed all those otlier 
gifts, wliich the Lord has so richly bestowed upon you. I 
will therefore say no more on this subject. I may have said 
too much already. My wife salutes you most affectionately, 
and is exercised with no common grief, by the death of her 
dearest sister, and with me considers it a calamity to us all. 
It grieves me, that an opportunity is not now affordrd me for 
a personal interview^ with you. Should you wish it, no im- 
peding circumstances shall prevent me fi-om visiting you. 
My colleagues salute you with all the brethren, among 
whom you may number Francis of Viviers, \v^ho is now here 
and begs me to salute you In his name. Salute our domestick 
and other friends, especially Gallasius, Beza# and Ottoman, 
in my name, to whom Francis also wishes health. Farewell, 
« Yours, PETER VIRET. 

" Lausanne, April 10, 1549." 

The year 1550 was comparatively tranquil, and the eccle- 
siastical affairs were conducted ^\ ith unusual harmony. As 
some persons neglected publick worship, and others attended 
but with little profit, it was decreed by the Senate, that 
the Ministers should not limit their labours to preaching the 
word, but should at stated times visit every family, attend- 
ed by the Decurion of each ward, and a ruling Elder : and 

* In 1548, Beza left Paris, and arrived at Geneva Oct. 24, Trom tlicnce 
he went to Tubingen, to see his old instructor, Melchior ^^\)lnlar. He re- 
turned to Geneva, and at the call of the Church of Lausanne, and the solicit-, 
ations of Calvin, ho commenced his ecclesiastical labours in this city, 1549 


that they should question each person summarily concern- 
ing the reason of his faith. This personal application of in- 
struction was attended with favoui*able and extensive bene- 
fits. It was also decreed, that the commemoration of the 
nativity of the Saviour should be referred to the next Lord's 
day, and that no day should be observed as holy excepting 
every seventh day which is called the Lord's day. This 
regulation ojffended some Avho were attached to the festivals, 
and they attempted to excite an opposition to this proceed- 
ure, by insinuating that Calvin would finally abolish the 
Lord's day itself. But however ready the opposers w ere to 
charge this decree upon Calvin, the fact was, that it was 
passed by the people not only without the request, but even 
without the knowledge of the IMinisters ; and Calvin, though 
he j udged this measure inexpedient, at this time and under 
all the circumstances, laboured to conduct himself in the most 
accommodating manner respecting this subject.^ At this 
time, to expose and counteract the disposition to detraction 
which is too commonly indulged by many, Calvin publish- 
ed, on this occasion, a small work concerning Scandaly which 
he dedicated to his old and faithful friend Laurence of Nor- 

jMartin Bucer, Professor of Theology in the University of 
Cambridge, closed his learned and useful career February 
28, 1551. As he had been higlily respected by Edward 
VT., his remains were interred with distinguished funeral ho- 
nours. J The death of Bucer occurred at the critical mo- 
ment Avhen the Liturgy of the English Church w as under- 
going a reform. The loss of liis influence in that work, 
and the close of a long and most confidential intimacy and 
correspondence, so deeply affected Calvin, that in his letter 

* Epist. Cal. to the Minister of Burcn, elated July 10, 155.0. 
f See Opuscula Calvini, p. 64. 
+ See Burnet, vol. 3, p. 155. 


to Farel, he forebore dwelling on the painful subject ; and says, 
" When I reflect with myself, how great a loss the Church of 
God has sustained in the death of this man, it cannot be but 
that I should be tortured with fresh sorrow. His influence 
was great in England. And from his writings, I cannot but 
indulge the hope, that posterity will be l)encfited in a still 
more extensive degree. It may be added that the Church 
appears to be deprived of faithful Teachers." He proceeds 
to mention, in the same letter, the death of his friend Joa- 
chim Vadian, Consul of St. Gal, a civil Magistrate valua- 
ble for his learning and piety, the weight of whose influ- 
ence was very great in the civil and religious concerns of 
the Helvetians. # 

Those who, from restlessness or ambition, are ever upon 
the watch to elTect their evil purposes, are seldom without 
some pretext sufficiently plausible to afford them the hope 
of accomplishing those objects, to which their hatred of reli- 
gion, or love of power, so strongly and anxiously impels them. 
The faction of Geneva, in order to stir up the sleeping fires 
of contention, first openly opposed the granting of the rights 
of citizenship to those w^ho, exiled from other countries by 
persecution, had taken up their residence in this city. They 
next attacked Calvin with deriding language, as he was retir- 
ing from a meeting held across the Pthone ; and to gratify 
their disposition for mischief, and abuse against the Minis- 
ters who reproved their vices, and the Consistory that disci- 
plined them, they secretly removed one of the posts of the 
bridge over which Raymond Calvet muri necessarily pass at 
night, and he narrowly escaped b ing precipitated into the 
river. For the purpose also c f raising a popular tumult, a 
child was presented for baptism in the Church of St. Ger- 
vais, to whom it was well known that the Minister could not 

* See Cal. Epist. Letter to Farcl June 15, 1551, and to Virct May 10, 

70 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1551 

administer that ordinance, if he adhered to the estabhshed 
rules of ecclesiastical order. He refused to give the name 
Balthazar, and a violent tumult was raised on the occasion. 
Against these evils, however, Calvin opposed no means of 
defence, but the shield of steady and invincil:>le patience.# 

The successive attacks of the factious, to demolish the 
Consistory, had on the whole tended to add new strength to 
the l^asis, and to increase the compactness and durability of 
the edifice of Church discipline. Ecclesiastical censures were 
extremely dreaded, and the stoutest hearts Avere appalled at 
the disgrace which accompanied them. To avoid the infa- 
my of publick censure, as they were determined to persist in 
their heretical opinions and vicious conduct, they judged it 
expedient to remove Calvin from his office, or destroy his in- 
fluence, as he was the principal barrier which obstructed 
their course, and the chief supporter of correct discipline. 

Among the Hydras of faction, which successively shot 
fartli their revegetating heads in Geneva, Jerome Bolseck oc- 
cupies a distinguished place. He j&rst appeared in the char- 
acter of a Parisian Monk, of the order of the Carmelites. 
Some years however before this, he had quitted his habit, 
A\ ithout changing his disposition. After obtruding himself 
upon the pious Duchess of Ferrara, as a Reformer, his hy- 
pocrisy was detected and he was driven from her court. 
With only three days preparatory study, he then assumed the 
profession of medicine, and soon after came to Geneva. 
Finding himself despised as a quack, by the learned Physi- 
cians of this city, he Avas compelled to take some other 
course, and unfortunately attempted to establish himself as a 

* Quick's Synodicon, vol. 1, Art. of Discipline. Baptism, p. 46. Also, 
Synod 3d at Orleans, p. 25, sect. 21. Children of excommunicated parents 
^\ ere not to be baptized. Pagan names, and names sacred to God, and tlie 
names Baptist, Angel, Archangel, &c. were to be refused.— See Bing* 
l\am*s works, vol. 2, p- 774-. 

1551 LIFE OF CALVIN. <! 

Theologian. The diversity of opinion, about the doctrine of 
predestination, opened the way for his attaching himself to 
that party, who were in opposition to the confession of the 
Church and the principles of Calvin. He soon began to ad- 
vance his sentiments on some disputed points in the publick 
meetings. Calvin, in a private conversation, pointed out his 
errours, and endeavoured to persuade him into the belief of 
better things. Disregarding these counsels, and pleased 
with the commendations of the disaiiected, he was instiga- 
ted to address the people at a meeting of the congregation, 
the 16th of October, after one of the Ministers had discours- 
ed from John, viii. 47. concerning the sovereignty of the 
grace of the Holy Spii'it. He undertook to prove the fallacy 
of the doctrine of divine sovereignty, as stated by the Preach- 
er, and added haughty and seditious reproaches against the 
avowed principles of that Church. As Calvin left the house 
at the close of the regular service, Bolseck supposed he was 
absent. He had however returned with the crowd, and 
stood unobserved by Bolseck till he finished his harrangue. 
Calvin immediately stepped forward^ and on this unexpected 
emergency, discovered an extent of knowledge, strength of 
memory, and force of reasoning, which astonished the assem- 
bly. He confuted and overwhelmed Bolseck, with so many 
passages of scripture, so many quotations from Augustine, so 
aptly arranged and so pointedly applied, that all the factious 
were covered with confusion for the Monk, who alone stood 
with a frozen and unblushing front. One of the iMagistrates 
being present ordered him into custody as a seditious i)erson. 
The SwisB Churches were consulted, and after a full hearing 
before the Senate, this seditious man was soitcnccd, upon liis 
own answers and confessions, to perpetual banishment, on 
pain, if he returned, of being whipped for his scandals, his 
impieties, and his ill life. His sentence was published by 
sQimd of trumpet, and being forbidden to reiMain in the. tor- 

72 LIFE OF CALVIN. 155:2 

ritories of Geneva, he retired to a neighbouring town in the 
limits of the Canton of Bern, from which territory he was 
twice afterwards expelled for his seditious conduct.* 

Bolseck, finding himself an outcast in Switzerland, went 
into France, and sought to obtain ordination^ first at Paris 
and then at Orleans ; artfully dissembling repentance, and 
voluntarily seeking reconciliation with the Church of Gene- 
va, from which he was excommunicated, previously to his 
expulsion from that city. His apparent penitency made a 
favourable impression on the Synod of Orleans in 1562 ; and 
it would seem that he was entered on their list of Preachers, 
as in the records of the Synod 1563, at Lyons, he is named 
among the vagrants and deposed Ministers, as a most 
infamous liar and apostate.f Bolseck returned to the Papists, 
and settled at Autun, in the character of Physician, where, 
by his looseness of manners, he subjected himself to the re- 
proach even of the most licentious. J 

The College of Ministers at Geneva, in a publick assem- 
bly, discussed the doctrine of divine predestination, and Cal- 
vin summing up the whole in a treatise, it received their 
approbation, and was published January 1, 1552. This in- 
tricate subject was limited within its proper bounds ; its 
connection w ith other points opened ; and its purposes illus- 
trated with great clearness. This litigated question, which 
always afforded to the uneasy and unprincipled a plausible 
pretext to raise difficulties, was now eagerly seized, by the 
combined efforts of the factious in Geneva, and in the dif- 
ferent Churches of the Canton of Bern, who were anxious 
to ])last the reputation, and destroy the influence of Calvin. 
Castalio retained his bitterness against him ; and for fear of 
the consequences of being known, propagated in secret the 

• See Bayle's Diction. Bolseck notes. 

I Quick's Synodicon, 4th Synod, Lyons, p. A7>. 

^ Rayle, Art. Bolseck: 


Pelagian doctrines at Basil. Others at the same lime united 
with the Papists, and accused Calvin of making God the au- 
thor of sin : A doctrine which tliey might have kno^vn he 
had confuted in his Tract against the Libertines. To ascer- 
tain the true sentiments of Calvin, and exhibit them fairly, 
was no part of the labours of his enemies ; and tliey gladly 
sheltered themselves, in their apostate pursuit, under the 
least shadow of authority from some late writings of Melanc- 
thon, who, though he had sanctioned with his name tlic 
work of Calvin against Pighius, had objected against the IGth 
article of the formula of faith concerning the Lord's Supper, 
which had been adopted by the Churches of Zurich and Ge- 
neva.# Calvin's letter to Melancthon will shew his grief 
and his:painful anxiety about the reports which were circu- 
lated, for the purpose of leading the uninformed to the belief, 
that there was a total diiierence of opinion on that litigated 
subject between them.f The labours of the abandoned, and 
the virulence of the Papists, Calvin could bear as a matter 
of course; knowing that the usual procedure of those, who 
wilfully misrepresent the conduct or opinions of others, is to 
continue to repeat them with unceasing boldness, even in the 
face of facts, and the most ample refutation. Contempt and 
indifference cannot always be indulged with safety about re- 
ports, on account of their grossness or inconsistency ; for if 
they are left unnoticed, it sometimes gives a new handle to 
the propagators to increase their labours and succe.^s. As a 
general rule, Calvin judged it expedient to refute the false- 
hoods propagated about him ; especially those which related 
to his theological opinions, the misrepresentations of which 
affected injuriously the progress of the pure doctrines. His 
enemies had plucked out, here and there from his writings, 
sentences which, when msulated, afforded them the advantage 

* See Theologici Tractatus CaJvini, p. 59Zy Section 16. 
I See JLetters, No. 44; 


U ' LIFE OF CALVIN. 1552: 

of attaching to them such a construction as enabled them to 
charge upon him opinions which he abhorred. Being accus- 
ed of teaching the Fate of the Stoicks^ under the doctrine of 
Predestination, in his reply, he says, The Fate of the Stoicks 
is a necessity that controls God himself. Predestination, as 
the scriptures teach it, I define to be the free counsel of Gody 
by which he governs the human race, and all parts of the world, 
according to his immense wisdom and incomprehensible jus- 
tice.^ The ol)jectioiis of Calvin's opposers, however unfair 
and unpleasant to him, called forth his acute and discrimi- 
nating powers of mind in illustrating the true doctrines, and 
obviating plausible dilEculties, to the great benefit of the 
cause of religion. 

The Hermit Troillet, who was precluded from the ministe- 
rial office, assumed the profession of a Lawyer, and at this 
time put himself at the head of the factious and disaffected, 
in opposition to the doctrine of gratuitous election and di- 
vine sovereignty. The question was agitated before the Sen- 
ate with much spirit, Troillet contended, with the force of 
impudence, in favour of those Pelagian opinions which are so 
congenial to the native depravity and pride of man ; while 
Calvin, without fearing the displeasure, or courting the fa- 
vour of any, maintained his doctrines according to the sure 
testimony of God. His triumph was complete ; and his late 
treatise on Predestination, and the secret operations of Divine 
Providence, was approbated as being agreeable to the scrip- 
tures, and what was remarkable, even by the suffrages of his 
enemies themselves* 

Troillet lived but a few years subsequent to this period* 
When drawing towards the close of life, he became anxious 
that Calvin should witness his repentance. He declared that 
hk conscience could yield him no peace, unless before his 

* See Tract. Theol. p. 603, 

155$ LIFE OF CALVIN. 71 

death, he should become reconciled to him, whom he had m 
unprovokedly and indignantly injured. Calvin was not of an 
implacable spirit ; the current of his passions was not swollen 
with the sullen and interminable resentments of malice, but 
kindly affectionate towards the bitterest of Ms enemies when 
penitent. He therefore yielded promptly to his duty in visit- 
ing Troillet ; and with the utmost benevolence consoled and 
supported him, in the distress of his departing moments. 
The confession of Troillet, who had so long laboured to in- 
jure him, must have afforded the mind of Calvin a double 
satisfaction, as a testimony of Ms ministerial integrity, and 
an evidence of the repentance and peace of a former enemy. 

The Republick and Church of Geneva were much endan- 
gered by the feverish malice of the factious, which was now 
hastening to a crisis. With the increase of their numbers, 
the hope of ultimate success was strengthened, and they be- 
came outrageous with clamours and threats against the 
friends of liberty, and the laws which restrained the licen- 
tious. They procured the re-enactment of the old edicts 
for the appointment of Senators, which however operated, 
providentially, in favour of the supporters of order. They 
removed some of the Senators ; and ordered, on the ground of 
pretended fear, all arms to be taken from the exiles resident 
in the city, giving them permission only to wear their swords 
when without the walls. Every thing appeared to be yield- 
ing before them, in their progress towards the accomplish^ 
ment of the object, which they had «o long and so violently 
pursued without success. 

Amid the accumulating contentions of the faction of Per- 
rin, Bertilier and Balthazar, IMichel Servetus, author of a 
heresy against the true Godhead of the scriptures, came to 
Geneva. Having for more than twenty years wandered from 
place to place as a Physician, spreading his blasphemies un- 
der the name of Michel Villeneuve, he at length puWiskcd 

^6 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1553 

a tedious volume at Vienne in Dauphiny. This work was 
printed by Arnollet of Lyons, and the proof sheets were re- 
\if.Qd by William Geurot, who had been concerned in the 
faction of Geneva, and retired to Lyons to escape the punish- 
ment due to him for lewdness and other crimes. Servetus, 
having filled his book with blasphemies, was, on the report 
of the book censors, apprehended at Vienne, and sentenced to 
death, for the heresies of his work, and on his own confession 
at his trial. According to the sentence of the Popish tribu- 
nal, he ^vas to be burnt alive on the Ifth of June.^ He 
escaped from his prison, and after wandering about Italy 
for some time, to elude the vigilance of the Papists, he was at 
length driven, by his unfavourable auspices, to Geneva. By 
the advice of Calvin, Nicholas de la Fontain accused him of 
heresy and blasphemy ; and one of the Syndicks ordered 
him to be apprehended and conducted to prison, on the 13th 
of August. Subsequent to the articles of charge being sub- 
stantiated against him before the Senate, the Popish Magis- 
trates of Vienne demanded him to be given up to them as 
their prisoner. After his escape from Vienne, he was burnt 
in efiigy with five bales of his books, on the Ifth of June, 
the day on which the sentence of death was to have been 
executed. The Senate of Geneva put it to the choice of Ser- 
vetus, whether he would return to Vienne, as the Papists de- 
manded, or abide their decision. He preferred to abide the 
consequences of a judgment at Geneva. At this time, he 
perfectly well understood, that the laws of that Republick, 
enacted against hereticks by the Eiuperour Frederick II.,f 
when it was under the imperial jurisdiction, were still in 
force ; and that by these laws his sentence must be governed 
at Geneva. But the following letters and extracts will exhi- 
>)it, in the best manner, the progress and issue of the trial of 

' Life of Servetus, London edit. 1724. f Mosh. Vol. 4, p. 171 



this unhappy man, who was, after all their generous labours 
to reciaiin hini, sentenced to be burnt, which sentence was ex^ 
ecuted on the 2rth of October, 1553. 

" Calvo to Farel, wishes health. 

" It is as you say, my Farel. Though mx are to^ssed here 
and there, by many severe storms, yet the master who go- 
verns the ship, in which we are borne along, ^viJl never per- 
mit us to perish by shipwreck in the midst of the sea. 
There is no reason, therefore, for our minds to be over- 
whelmed with fear or fatigue. We have now new employ, 
ment with Servetus. He thought perhaps to pass through 
tins city. For what purpose he came here is not yet known • 
but being recognized, I supposed he ought to be d.tair.ed! 
My Nicholas challenged him to a capital trial, offering him- 
self inpc^nam talionis. The next day he publickly alleged 
forty articles of accusation. At first the heretick was eva- 
sive. We were therefore called. He roughly reviled me as 
conscious to himself of his crimes. I received him as he de- 
served. At length the Senate pronovncecl all the articles to 
he proved, Nicholas was dismissed from prison on the tiiird 
iay, my brother having given bail for him, and on the fourth 
(le was released. I shall say nothing of the impudence of 
-he man. But so great Avas his rage, that he did not h^si- 
ate to declare the Godhead to be in the devils. Nay more 
.hat several Gods were in each ; because the Deity was sub^ 
tantially communicated to them as well as to ^^ood and 
tone. I hope at least the sentence will be capital, hvt I de^ 
ire the severity of the punishment to be remitted. My Col- 
^agues salute you, with Budeus and Normandius .> ho has 
^ecovered his health. Salute Claudius in my name. 
" G^CNEVA, August 20, 1553.'» 

LIFE OF CALVIa:. 1555 

^ Calvi^j to Suecer, wishes health* 

*' The name of Michel Servetus, who has, for these twea-. 
ty years past, infected the Christian world with his virulent 
and pernicious dogmas, cannot, I suppose, be unknown to 
you. If you have not read his book, it can hardly be but 
that you must have heard something concerning his kind of 
doctrine. This is he of whom that faithful minister of 
Christ, Bucer of sacred memory, who was endowed with a 
mild and forbearing disposition, declared in the pulpit, that 
he ought to have his bowels taken out and scattered. From 
the first he has not ceased to spread his poison, and has 
lately caused to be privately printed at Vienne a larger vol- 
ume, made up of the same errours. The fact being known, 
he was thrown into prison, from which he escaped, I know 
not in what manner, and after wandering about Italy for 
almost four months, he was at length driven, by his unfa- 
vourable auspices, to this city. One of the Syndicks, at my 
request, ordered him to be committed to prison. And I do 
not conceal, that I thought it my duty to do all in my 
power, to restrain this more than obstinate and ungovernable 
man, lest the contagion should continue to spread. We see 
how licentiously impiety every where thickens, and new 
errours are springing up from this fountain ; and still there 
is a great indiiference among those, whom God has armed 
with the sword to vindicate the glory of his name. 
While the Papists are so eager and zealous to protect their 
superstitions, that with atrocious cruelty they shed the blood 
of the innocent. Christian Magistrates should blush at 
their own coldness in defending the real truth. I confess that 
there is nothing more inconsistent than that we should imi- 
tate their excessive fury. But there are certain bounds to 
moderation ; lest the impious be allowed to utter, with im- 

1553 LIFE OF CALVIN. fg 

punity, whatever blasphemies they please against God, when 
there is the power of restraining them. In the case of this 
man three things are to be considered : First, With what 
monstrous errours he has corrupted every doctrine of reli- 
gion ; with what detestable derision he has laboured to de- 
stroy all piety ; with what foul inventions he has entangled 
Christianity, and overturned all the principles of our religion. 
Secondly, With what obstinacy he has conducted himtelf ; 
with what diabolical pride he has despised all admonitions • 
with what inexorable headiness he has been precipitated ta 
spread his poison. Thirdly, With what arrogance he this 
day asserts his abominations. He is so very distant from the 
hope of repentance, that he does not hesitate to fix this stain 
upon those holy men, Capito and (Ecolampadius, that tliey 
had been associated with him in the same opinions. When 
the letters of (Ecolampadius were shown to him, he said that 
he wondered by what spirit he had been led to abandon his 
origmal sentiments. But as I trust you will take qare that 
the impiety of this man be represented in its proper colours 
I will add no more. I will only inform you, that the Quest- 
or of the city, who will deliver you this letter, is sincere in 
this business, and will not turn aside from the object we de- 
sire. I wish your old disciples were animated in the same 
manner. I say nothing of the affairs in France, as I pre- 
sume we have no news, but what is equally known to you • 
except that on the last Saturday, three pious brethren were 
burnt at Lyons, and a fourth sent to a neighbouring town, 
to undergo a similar punishment. It is scarcely credible' 
with what light of the Holy Spirit of God such iUiterate 
men were instructed in the perfection of Christian doctrme, 
as the event testified, and with what fortitude and invincible 
constancy they were supported. One of them, overpowered 
by fear, at first swerved from a sincere confession of his 
iaiUi. Yet when he was assured, that the judges would ab^ 

80 LIFE OF CALVIN. 15o3 

solve him, he declared his base dissimulation, and offered 
himself with readiness to the flames. In other parts of 
France also, similar burnings prevail, nor is there any hope of 
their being assuaged. Farewell. 
" Geneva, September 9, 1553." 

In a letter to the Pastors of Frankfort, Calvin informs them 
of the fact, that a large number of copies of the work of Serve- 
tu?, printed at Vienne, were carried by a huckster to the fair 
of Frankfort, but being a pious man, when he discovered the 
impiety of the books, he suppressed them. He informs them, 
that Servetus was retained in prison at Geneva, by the Ma- 
gistracy, and says, " It is your duty to endeavour to pre- 
vent this pestilential poison from spreading any farther. — 
The messenger will inform you of the number of the books, 
and the name of the bookseller with whom they are depo- 
sited, who will, if I mistake not, suffer them to be burnt. — 
I trust you are resolute enough to purify the world from 
this abomination. It is sufficient that I inform you of the 
fact. Geneva, August 20j 1553." 

" Faree to Calvin, salutem dicit. 

" That Normandius has regained his former health, and 
that the Marquis is returned from Italy, I congratulate both 
them and you also. Besides, I have good reason to covet the 
happy condition of tlie pious matron, who is freed fiom the 
evils with A\'hich Ave are struggling, and now has the privi- 
lege to be and live with Christ. It is a Avonderful dispensa- 
tion of divhie Providence, concerning Servetus, that he went 
to your city. I wish he may be wise even late. It would be 
a miracle indeed, if he should meet death seriously converted 
to the Lord, and die but once who has deserved a thousand 
deaths ; if he should now strive to edify all the living, who 


has laboured earnestly to injure many who are now dead, and 
many yet ahve, and even to poison posterity. The judges 
will be very cruel and injurious to Christ, and the doctrine 
of piety, and enemies of the true Church, if they are not 
moved by the horrible blasphemies of this impious heretick, 
by which Jie attacks the divine majesty, and labours to 
weaken the influence of the Gospel of Christ, and to corrupt 
all the Churches. But I hope God will grant that tliose, 
who are praised for the just punishments inflicted on thieves 
and sacrilegious persons, may so conduct themselves in this 
affair, as to preserve their merited reputation, by removing 
him who has so long obstinately persevered in his heresies, and 
ruined so many of his fellow-mortals. By wishing to miti- 
gate the severity of the punishment, you discharge the of- 
fice of a friend towards your greatest enemy. But I en- 
treat you to manage this business so that no one hereafter 
shall dare rashly to advance neAv dogmas, and throw every 
thing into confusion with impunity, so long as this man has 
done. You see the arrogant heretick Bolseck who, though 
so often convicted, cannot be reduced to order. The indul> 
gence rather than the justice of the judges, while they nc- 
gleet their duty, not only hurts and ruins him, but many 
others. These things, however, do not escape you, and I 
have no occasion to mention them to you. But as we com- 
plain of many other things, why not of this also ? Many 
are inclining to the heresy of the Catabaptists,# who, as they 
are chiefly the most abandoned men, deny that the wicked, 
ought to be punished, in order that they may with impuni- 
ty teach and practise their own abominations. They Mould 
have hereticks no otherwise dealt with, than that they be 
permitted to go at large ; as if there was no diiference be- 
tween the office of a Pastor and that of a IMagistrate. If 

"■ Persons opposed to baptism. 


the Pope condemn the pious as hereticks, and his furious judg- 
es unjustJy inflict on the innocent what is due to hereticks, 
what madness is it to collect from their abuse, that hereticks 
are not to be punished, that the righteous may be in secu- 
rity ? Truly in this unheard of mode of reasoning, they 
would provide for themselves and others, in a way different 
from that in which all the servants of the Lord have trodden, 
that they might join themselves to hereticks. When I have 
read the passage where Paul says. If I have committed amj 
thing northy of cleat h^ I refuse not to die, I have really thought 
that I should be willing to meet the sentence of death, if I 
should teach any thing contrary to the doctrine of right- 
eousness. I have also added farther, that I should be wor- 
thy any punishment, if I should lead others astray from the 
faith and doctrine of Christ. And I am not able to judge 
concerning others any thing different from what I determine 

in my own case. — Farewell, and with you all the pious. 

It is w^onderful how enraged Satan is and all his, that you 
are not dead before this time. I read to-day a letter to one 
of the brethren, in which it was mentioned that you were 
dead ; and that before your departure, you went to Fri- 
bourg, and sending for a Priest confessed to him that you 
had greatly erred. So let these Popish tricks remain and 
hold their place, and \ti the Mass-Priests, and the whole 
pontifical dregs learn, how true all those reports are which 
they spread with shameless impudence. Not only the old 
Pontiffs, but the young ones, and the two-fold Monks, arc 
ready to burst with rage that you continue to live. JMay 
Christ give all a better understanding, and preserve you 
and that Church, and enrich it a\ ith an increased number 
of believers, with gifts and heavenly blessings. I desire that 
your colleagues and all the pious may be in health. JMy 
brother colleagues, Casper and Claudius, wish you health. 
'' NEurcHATEL, September a, 1553." 

'156^ LIFE OF CALVIN. 83 

" BuLLiNGER TO Calvix, wislics Iicaltli. 

"Mr DEAR Brother — The Lord has indeed provided 
the means, through the most convenient occasion, for your 
most illustrious Senate to purge itself and the Church from 
the plague and pollution of heresy, while he has given into 
their hands Servetus, the Spaniard. A great part of the 
Christian world know him, either from the blasphemous 
books published concerning the errours of the Trinity ; or 
from those merely Jewish which he published for tlie 
justification of his works. You judge in his last l)Ook 
published, that he has surpassed himself in impiety. If 
therefore your illustrious Senate measure back to him, what 
is due to a blaspheming reviler, the Avhole world will see 
that the Genevese hate blasphemers, and that those hereticks, 
who obstinately persist in heresy, are to be punished by the 
sword of justice, and that the glory of the divine majesty is 
to be vindicated. But if they should not do this, it will not 
be your duty to desert that Church to others, and so admi- 
nister the occasion of evils. Contend with intrepidity, trust- 
ing in God through Christ ; — implore his counsel and assist- 
ance, that he may deliver you. We will assist you by our 
earnest prayers. Plve et vale, live and farewell. 
" September 14, 1553, Zurich." 

After the Senate had declared the charges to be proved 
against Servetus, he appealed^ to the opinions of the four 
Swiss Churches, to whom the Senate forwarded tlie charges, 
proofs and replies, with his book. The following letter is 
the answer of the IMinistcrs of tlie Church of Zurich : — 

* Deinde quum illc provocaret a«l aKas Rcclofiias. Opusciila Galvini 

p. 533. 

8i LIFE OF CALVIN. 1553 

"The jMinisteus of the Church or Zurich, to the ex- 
cellent Syndicks and honourable Senate of the Ge- 
neves e Republick, our truly respected Lords, wish- 
ing healtli. 

" We have received, by the messenger, the letter of your 
Excellencies, together with the book of Servetus and the arti- 
cles selected from it, and also the -written conference between 
our dear and venerable brethren, your Ministers, and Michel 
bervetus. As your piety required of us to examine all of 
them with diligence, and give our opinion on those points ; 
in compliance \vith your rec[uest we will, by the assistance of 
God, explain to you, with as much precision and perspicuity 
as \VQ are able, ^vhat we think and teach concerning the Unity 
and Trinity of the Godhead, and the mystery of the Son of 
God ; and our opinion of the controversy or writings of the 
Ministers of your Church and of Servetus. We doubt not, 
that the adorable mystery of the Unity and Trinity of the 
ever blessed God has been firmly believed by all holy persons, 
fiom the beginning of the world, and has been delivered to 
posterity to be faithfully believed by them, and has been evi- 
dently asserted in the scriptures by the true Prophets inspir- 
ed by the Holy Ghost. Therefore, this first and fundamen- 
tal principle of true theology is so proved by the oracles of 
God, so confirmed by evident signs, and received by the 
unanimous consent of the catholick and orthodox Church of 
the Old and New Testament, that it has been always consid- 
ered a most heinous sin even to call it in question. We 
tjierefore confess, with the holy and universal Church of God, 
that there is but one Essence of God, and three distinct Per- 
sons, not to be confounded. For the Father, speaking from 
heaven concerning his Son, says. This is my beloved Son, in 
ivkom I am well pleased. The Son is he to m hom the Father 


gave testimony. But the Holy Spirit appeared under the 
form of a Dove. These are three distinct Persons in one di- 
vine Essence. Before the Council of Nice, arose Praxcas, 
Noetiu^ and Sabejlius, called by the ancients Patripassians^ 
and confounded the distinction of Persons to preserve the 
Unity of God. But they were learnedly and irresistibly re- 
futed by the Payors of the Church, who maintained from the 
scriptures, and j reserved in the Church, that the my.'^tery of 
the triune Unity of C od was to l^e adored. Hence we per- 
ceive, that in th i Niceae Council, the Pastors of t-lie Church 
transmitted to us in their creed nothing, but what the catho- 
lick and ortliodox Church had retained from the time of the 
Apostles, and even of the Prophets. When therefore Servetus 
the Spaniard so often calls the eternal Trinity of God, a trU 
pie monster, a three headed Cerberus, hnaginanj Gods, ard 
finally visionary and three spirited devils, he A\ickediy and 
most horribly l^laspl^emes against the eternal majesty of God. 
By calling Athanasius, Augustine and other excellent serv:*.nts 
of God, and illustrious lights of the Church, Trinitarians, 
that is Atheists, for so he calls all those who acknowledge a 
Trinity, he reviles, with unjust and insuiferable reproach, not 
only those, but the whole order of holy men, and also the 
whole Church of God. But that whicli appears in this un- 
happy man is to be abhorred, that he should excuse the 
blasphemies uttered by the Jews against the Christian reli- 
gion, and should approve and praise the abusive "\\ ords of 
the Mahometans, that three Persons in the Trinity, or, as he 
says, three Gods, were,. unknown to the Fathers, and are the 
Sons of Beelzebub. What could this man belch forth more 
impious against God, or against the holy Christian iiiith ? 
And we pray you, what Christian ears can patiently hear 
these tilings ? The Church of God has, from the begin- 
ning, believed and uniformly taught, that the Son of Go^ 
Subsisted from all eternity in liis ov.n Person, for the 


Churcli liad been taught this by the ^^'ord of God. Christ 
himself most openly in the Gospel declares, Before Abra- 
ham Tvas, I AM. Certainly the substance, not of the flesh 
indeed, but of the Godhead ; according to which the Apos- 
tle calls him, the express image of the Father"* s Person — and 
at the same time, he quotes this passage from the Old Tes- 
tament, Thou art my Son, this dai/ have I begotten thee. This 
iSon of glory. Son from eternity, true God, in time was made 
the Son of man — true man, born not of the substance of God 
the Father, Ijut from the su]:istance of Mary his virgin mo- 
ther, whom God overshadowed by his Spirit. Hence this 
Son is called the blessed seed of the woman, the offspring of 
David, and the Son of man. But he remains in one undi- 
vided Person, having at the same time two distinct and un- 
confounded natures, divine and human. This is so evidently 
proved, both formerly and now, from the perspicuous and 
manifest testimonies of scripture, that whoever doubts it 
plays the fool with his reason. We therefore in simplicity, 
and with one mind, firmly believe, -what we have now de- 
clared, and we preach these doctrines to the Church entrust- 
ed to our care. Servetus is therefore again guilty of blas- 
phemy against the Son of God, when he impudently rails 
at the hypostasis of the Son, existing from eternity, coequal 
and coesscntial with the Father, as a diabolical idea and fab- 
ulous chimera. And over and above this, he dares assert, 
that the Father of the l^ody of the Son was no other than 
God the Father himself, from whose substance the flesh of 
the Son was formed. Paul, the teacher of the Gentiles, 
taught far otherwise, and said, Thai the Son of God was hc' 
gotten of the seed of David aecording to the flesh ; and declar- 
ed to be the Son of God with poner, according to the Spirit 
of holiness. But why should we proceed to enumerate the 
single blasphemies of this man ? The faithful and learned 
Pnstors of your Church have diligently and honestly collect- 

1553 LIFE OF CALVIN. 87 

ctl some of his most enormous errours and avowed heresies, 
in the work entitled, The opinions or propositions selected 
from the book of Michel Scrvetus. We neither fmd them se- 
lected nor designated by a spirit of calumny. Neither do 
we in any manner receive or approve them, ])ut wholly exe- 
crate them. For Servetus, in his answer immediately sub- 
joined, does not explain but involves the subject in obscurity ; 
and at the same time corrupts the opinions of many of the 
ancients concerning the Unity and Trinity of God, and also 
the mystery of the Son of God, which is plainly evinced in 
the very apposite answer of the Ministers of your Church. 
Tlie reply or gloss of Servetus contains little else than extreme 
impudence, and detestable outrage. For he so often throws 
out against Calvin his mentiris, you lie, and calls him so often 
magician and Simon Magus, that the bare remembrance of it 
grieves us, and makes us blush for him : Especially since his 
work speaks out for itself, and what he has written when fair- 
ly examined testifies that Calvin invented nothing, ]>ut that 
Servetus rather denies and covers with a gloss those things 
which he had said. We trust that the fidelity and diligence 
of our brother Calvin, your Pastor, and his distinguished me- 
rit with the exiles and pious, will be too illustrious to be ob- 
scured, by the mean and detestable criminations of that man, 
either with your Excellencies or any other good men. And 
your Excellencies readily acknowledge, and declare in your 
letter, which gives us great pleasure, that you do not ask our 
opinion, because you distrust the Ministers of your Chui;ph, 
but merely to obtain our sentiments on these subjects. But 
in what manner you will restrain this man, who has rencAvcd 
the heresies formerly confuted and condemned by the 
Church, as repugnant to the scriptures, and has made Avar 
upon the first and fundamental articles of our faith, 
and in attacking these insults God and his saints, we 
leave to your prudence to determine. If wo, are not dc- 


oeived by the similarity of the names, this Servetus stirred 
up this great evil twenty years ago, and Doctor John (Eco- 
larapadius, of blessed memory, endeavoured to bring him 
back to the right way ; and even at that time the doctrine 
of Servetus was condemned by those who first preached the 
Gospel in those parts. He however, tenacious of his own 
opinions, in the year 1531, caused to be printed in Germa- 
ny seven books concerning the en'ours of the Trinity, and 
other treatises in the form of dialogues, which undoubtedly 
drove many, who were little versed in the scriptures, and 
■wavering in their faith, to plunge themselves into imminent 
danger of soul and body. With this however, he w as not 
satisfied ; but having selected the most pestilential errours 
and insufferable blasphemies, he proceeds to outdo even him- 
self in impiety and blasphemy, and to obtrude the most 
corrupt doctrine under the form of The Restitution of the 
Christian Church We therefore judge, that great fidelity 
and diligence are requisite against this man, especially as 
our Churches are evilly reported abroad, as being heretical, 
and as favouring hereticks. The holy Providence of God 
has, in the present case, presented you with the opportunity 
of clearing yourselves and us from the perverse suspicion of 
this evil ; and we doubt not but that your Excellencies will 
be vigilant, and promptly take care, that the contagion of 
this poisonous man spread no farther by his means. The 
Lord Jesus Christ grant to your piety, w isdom and forti- 
tude, the w^ay, m.anner and righteous means of doing his 
will, for the glory of his name, and the faithful preservation 
of the pure doctrines of the Church. At the same time, w^e 
all offer your Excellencies our services, and commend our- 
selves to you for that purpose. We have detained your mes- 


sengcr three days, because we were not able sooner to ex- 
plain our sentiments. 

*^Your Excellencies' most devoted servants, 

*< The Pastors and Lectors, Ministers of ) 
THE Church of Zurich. y 

« Zurich, October 2, 1553." 

The Ministers of the otlier Swiss Churches, Schaffhausen, 
Bern and Basil, returned answers very similar to that from 

*' Calvin to Farel, wishes health. 

" I shall now treat you in some measure as you do mc ; 
and instead of a letter, give you a breviculum, a mere sketch, 
which will not occupy much of your time. The messenger 
has returned from the Helvetick Churches. All unite, with 
one consent, in declaring that Servetus has at once revived 
all the impious errours with which Satan formerly troubled 
the Church, and that the monster is intolerable. The an- 
swer of the Ministers of Basil is judicious. That of Zurich, 
the most decisive of all. The atrocity of his impieties is 
strongly described by them, and they exhort our Senate to 
severity. To their opinion the Ministers cf Schalihausen 
subscribe. To the pertinent letter of the Bernese Ministers, 
their Senate has added a letter, by which our Senate is 
greatly animated. Comical Ccesar, having feigned sickness 
for three days, at length came into the Senate-room, that he 
might discharge this wicked man from punishment. Nor 
did he blush to ask that the trial should be removed to the 
Council of two hundred. However, he was condcnmed, sine 
controversia, without hesitancy. He will be led to punish- 
ment to-morrow. IFe endeavoured to commute the kind of 
death, but in vain. Why we could eiiect nothing in his fa- 


90 LIFE OF CALVIN. 155.8 

vour, I will inform you at our interview. Farewell, most 
faithful brother and excellent Minister of Christ. May God 
preserve and direct you always. Health to all friends. 
Ours salute you again. 

« Geneva, October 26, 1553." 

" The judgment of the Syndicks and Senators, pro- 
nounced UPON Michel Servetus. 

" We, Syndicks, Judges of criminal causes in this city, hav- 
ing- witnessed the process made and instituted against you, on 
the part of our Lieutenant, in the aforesaid causes, instituted 
against you, Michel, of Villeneuve, in the kingdom of Ar- 
ragon, in Spain, in which your voluntary confessions in 
our hands, made and often reiterated, and the books before 
us produced, plainly shew, that you, Servetus, have publish- 
ed false and heretical doctrines ; and also, despising all re- 
monstrances and corrections, have, with a perverse inclina- 
tion, sown and divulged them in a book published against God 
the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit ; in sum against all the 
true foundations of the Christian religion, and have thereby 
tried to introduce trouble and schism into the Church of 
God, by which many souls may have been ruined and lost — 
things horrible, frightful, scandalous and infectious ; and have 
not been ashamed to set yourself in array against the divine 
Majesty and the holy Trinity ; but rather have obstinately em- 
ployed yourself in infecting the world with your heresies and 
offensive poison ; a case <md crime of heresy grievous and de- 
testable, and deserving corporal punishment. For these and 
other just reasons moving us, and being desirous to piurgc 
the Church of God from such infection, and to cut off from 
it so rotten a member, having had good counsel from oth- 
ers, and having invoked the name of God, that ^vt may 
make a right judgment; sitting upon the tribunal of our 

1553 LIFE OF CALVIN. 01 

predecessours, having God and the holy scriptures before our 
eyes, saying, in the name of the Father, of t he Son and of 
the Holy Spirit, by that definitive sentence which we here 
give by this writing — you, Michel Servetus, are condemn- 
ed to be bound and led to the Champel,# and there fasten- 
ed to a stake, and burned alive w ith the book wTitten with 
your hand and printed, until your body shall be reduced to 
ashes, and your days thus finished as an example to others, 
who might commit the same things ; and we command you, 
our Lieutenant, to put this our sentence into execution.-*- 
Read by the Chief Syndick, De Arlord."t 

Extracts from the refutation of the errours of Michel Ser- 
vetus, drawn up by Calvin, with the assistance of the 
other Ministers of the Genevese Republick. 

In this work the propositions in proof of the lieresy and 
blasphemy of Servetus are stated, his answers and the reply 
to them, &c. &c. &c. And the question discussed. Whether 
it is lawful for Christian Magistrates to punish hereticks ? 
The affirmative is maintained by Calvin, and subscribed by 
^11 the Ministers,^ as follows : 

John Calvin, JMichael Cope, 

Abel Pouppinus, John Pyrery, 

James Bernard, John de St. Andrew^ 

Nicholas Galasius, John Bald\^ in, 

Francis Borgonius, John Faber, 

Nicholas Little, John Macarius, 

Raymond Calvet, Nicholas Colladoniuis. 

Matthew Malesian, 

• The Champel was a small eminence, about a quarter of a mile from 
the walls of Geneva. 

f Life of Servetus, London edit. 1774. 

# See Tractatus Theologici Calvini, p. 511-»597. 

02 LIFE OF CALYIN. 1553 

Extract, No. 1. 

" As Jong as there "vvas any hope of recalling him to a right 
mind, I did not, says Calvin, cease to aiford all ray assistance 
in private to eilect it. But not to detain the reader with 
doubtful narrations, I will simply mention what he confessed 
io be true, only two hours before his death, in the presence of 
many witnesses. As he requested a conference with me, two 
Senators were sent, who accompanied me to the prison. Be- 
ing asked, ^^ hat he desired, he answered, that he begged my 
pardon. I ingenuously observed, that I never had pursued 
any private injuries ; — that as much as I was able I had ad- 
monished him with mildness ; — that I had, sixteen years ago, 
olfercd my assistance to cure him, even at the imminent dan- 
ger of my life ; — that it was by no means my fault, that he 
had not repented, and received the hand of fellowship from 
all the pious ; — that I had without ever exposing him, patient- 
ly dealt Avitli him by private letters ; — finally, that I had 
omitted towards him no office of benevolence, until so much 
enraged by my free remonstrances, he poured forth not the 
spirit of passion, so much as the fury of madness. But ceas- 
ing to speak of myself, I entreated him to think rather of 
asking forgiveness of the eternal God, against whom he had 
been so atrociously insolent, by endeavouring to blot out the 
three Persons from his Essence, and calling him the three 
headed Cerberus ; as if an essential distinction was establish- 
ed between the Father, and his Son, and Spirit. — That he 
should resohitely seek to be at peace with the Son of God, 
whom he had deformed by his foul inventions, and by deny- 
ing him to be like us in that flesh which he assumed, and 
breaking the bond of fraternal union, he had denied at the 
same time the only Redeemer. But as my entreaties and ad- 
monitions availed nothing, I would not presume to be wise 

1553 LIFE OF CALVIN. 93 

above the rule of my master. For, according to the direc- 
tion of Paul, I departed from tlie man who is an hcretick, 

cuid sinneth, being ecuroKccrxK^trof, condemned of himself.- 

1 wish the errours of Servetus were buried. But 

while I hear that they are spreading, I cannot be silent with- 
out incurring the guilt of perfidy. The object of this work, 
however, is more immediately to give the reason for the 
punishment of that man. For those things Avhich were done 
by the Senate, are by many ascribed to me. Nor do I at 
all dissemble, that by my influence and advice, he was by 
the civil power, committed to prison. For having received 
the freedom of this city, I was bound to impeach him if 
guilty of any crime. I confess that I prosecuted the cause 
thus far. From the time that the articles were proved 
against him, I never uttered a word concerning his punish- 
ment. To this fact all good men will bear me witness ; and 
I challenge the wicked to produce whatever they know. But 
how far I proceeded is not of so much consequence, as that I 
ought to refute in this publick work, the calumny invented 
to asperse me by turbulent, foolish or malicious men and 

Tractatus Theologici Calvini, p. 511. 

Extract, No. 2, 

" As Servetus was sentenced to be burnt by the Papists 
at Vienne, the enemies of Calvin took occasion to accuse him 

of being the cause of his apprehension in that city. 

Nothing was less becoming me, say they, than tlxat I should 
expose Servetus to the professed enemies of Christ, as to huge 
beasts. For they affirm, that it was by my means, that he 
was taken at Vienne, in the Province of Lyonnois. But 
"whence this my so sudden familiarity with the inquisitors of 
the Pope ? Wlience this great influence with them ? Is it 

94 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1553 

credible, that letters should pass freely to and from those, 
who are as much at variance as Christ and Belial ? It is 
useless to spend words in refuting this calarany, which is 

broken to pieces and falls by a simple denial. 

If indeed ^vhat they falsely object to me, was a fact, I do not 
see any reason why I should deny it ; since I do not dissem- 
ble, that it was by my means, that he was seized in this city, 
and required to defend his cause. Let malevolent and slan- 
derous men object what they please, I offer myself beforehand, 
and freely confess, (for according to the laws of this city the 
man could not be justly treated otherwise,) that the accuser 
proceeded at my request ; that the formula was dictated by 
my advice ; by which some entrance was made upon the 
cause. But what my design then was, is evident from the 
progress of the action. TFhen my Colleagues and myself were 
summoned, it was by no means our fault that he did not con- 
fer peaceably and freely with us concerning his dogmatisms. 
We in fact proceeded as in chains to give the reason of our 
faith, and informed him that we were prepared to answer his 
objections. It was then that, with swollen cheeks, he poured 
forth upon me such reproaches, as made the judges themselves 
ashamed and grieved for him. — I avoided ail railing at him. 
And had he been in any manner curable^ he would have been in 
no danger of any weightier punishment. But he was so en- 
tirely destitute ©f moderation, that, filled with boasting and 
ferocity, he petulantly rejected with scorn all wholesome and 
useful advice. But the execrable and absurd blasphemies 
which he uttered, during the conversation, may perhaps be 
related elsewhere Avith more propriety. This only for the pre- 
sent will I declare, that I was not so inveterate against him, 
but that he might have redeemed his life, by mere moderation^ 
if he had not been destitute of reason. I know not what 
I shall say, unless that he was so seized with this fatal mad- 
ness, that he threw himself headlong into ruin. Eight 

1553 LIFE OF CALVIN. 95 

days after, I was again summoned ; and the opportunity 
was again given him of a free conference with us. He form- 
ed an excuse, that he was prevented by his grief and anx- 
iety. But whatever books he requested I freely lent him, 
partly from my own hbrary, and partly from others. It is 
therefore a probable suspicion, that he -vvas encouraged from 
some others, with a vain confidence, which destroyed him. 
. 1 trust that my moderation will be evi- 
dent to all good men, unless indeed it should seem to be 
effeminacy. But, as if he had taken new draughts of a poi- 
sonous humour, he proceeded to insert, in all the books he 
could obtain of mine, his insulting reproaches, so that he 
left no page free from his purulent vomiting. Concerning 
this, at that time, I thought it best to be silent, and my in- 
timate friends know that I was entirely unruffled by his un- 
generous insults." 

Tractatus Theologici Calvini, p. 517. 

Extract, No. 3. 

^> By mutilating the word of God in a foul manner, he 
manifestly proved that all religion was equal to him, only 
provided that he could indulge himself after his own petu- 
lancy. Moreover, we entertain such a judgment of that 
man, who held only one object professedly, that he took no 
pleasure in reviling any traditions concerning religion, unless 
he could, through their obscurity, erase from the memories 
of men all belief of the Godhead. While his arrogance 
called up all the most violent heresies, yet he added and 
mixed up with them a certain rashness of intemperate zeal. 
The life of Servetus was too dissolute, to lead any one to sup- 
pose, that he was driven by mere errour to disturb the 
Church. He had indeed never hesitated to subscribe to the 
substance of tlie grossest superstition ; but with i\m great 


liberality, he had never given much care to present himself 
as a worshipper of God. When he was therefore asked in 
prison, by the Judges, from what reason he was so £ealou5 
concerning all innovations in religion ? he was speechless. 
Nor had he any thing to say, unless that he took the liber- 
ty to be bold in sacred things, as if to trifle with God. In 
Jiis trial, he evinced his impiety in the most evident manner. 
He declared all creatures were, of the personal substance of 
God, and that all things were full of Gods ; for in tliig 
manner he did not blush deliberately to speak and write. 
We were wounded with indignation and asked him, misera- 
ble man ! What ? If any one trampling on this pavement 
should say, that he trampled on your God, would you not 
be ashamed at so great an absurdity ? He said, I do not 
doubt but that this bench, and whatever you see, is the 
substance of God. When it was objected, then the devil 
w ill be substantially God ; he burst into a deriding laugh, 
and said. Do you doubt this ? This is my general princi- 
ple — All things spring from the stock of God, and all na- 
ture is the substantial Spirit of God. The volume of 

Ptolomy's Geography was introduced; in the preface to 
which, Servetus had admonished his readers, that the scrip- 
ture account of the great fruitfulness of the land of Judea, 
was mere boasting ; as the testimony of travellers proved it 
to be uncultivated, barren, and destitute of every pleasant 
thing. He first said that this was written by another. So 
bold a cavil was promptly refuted, and by this means he 
was demonstrated to be a publick impostor. Reduced to 
tliis strait, he defended it as correctly written. He was 
asked if he was vain enough to suppose any authority was 
superior to JMoses ? He said others had written besides Mo- 
ses. — It w as replied, certainly, and they all agree with Moses, 
Avho was the most ancient. How great is the crime of the 
man who would deceive posterity by falsehood ? Who was 



it that said, It was a land that flowed with milk and honey ? 
And it was added, That the land was now a testimony of 
the righteous judgment of God, formerly threatened against 
the Jews, as is described in Psalm cvii. 33, 34. Tlie 
Senate and many other distinguished persons witnessed, that 
when he was convicted of impiety against tlic scriptures, 
he slily rubbed his face and said, there was no evil in all 
this ; and though convicted he made no acknowledgment. 
Entrusted by the printer of the Bible in Latin, at Lyons, 
with revising the proof sheets, he cheated the printer out 
of 500 francs, adding his polluted notes, &c. He pervert- 
ed most wickedly the 5$d chapter of Isaiah, stating that the 
sufl^erings described— w/er^ the mournings for Cyrus, who had 

died to take awaij the sins of the people. 1 omit that 

when Servetus pretended to have the sufl^rage of Nicholas 
Lyranus,# (in favour of his false glosses upon Isaiah) the 
book was brought ; and though convicted of falsehood, lie 
did not blush. It was a common thing with him, boldly 
to quote from books he had never seen. Of this he gave a 
specimen laughable enough in Justin Martyr, He magnifi- 
cently boasted, that Martyr, in his Golden Age, had"" not 
mentioned the fables of the Trinity and Persons. I immedi- 
ately ordered the volume to be brought, and pointed out 
with my finger certain places, in which that holy man had 
as openly asserted our faith, as if he had written at our re- 
quest. But he could no more read the Greek language tlian 
a boy learning his A, B, C. Finding himself basely caught, 
he peevishly asked for the Latin translation, to be hand- 
cd him. How happens this, said I, since there is no Latin 
translation extant, and you cannot read Greek, that you 
should yet pretend yourself to have read so familiarly the 
works of Justin ? Whence then did you obtain those testi- 

* One of the most celebrated commentators of the 14tli centuiv. 

9« LIFE OF CALVIN; 1553 

monies ivliich you indulge yourself in quoting so liberally ? 
He, as he was accustomed, with a brazen front, passed quick- 
ly to another subject, without the least sign of shame. 

_ But that wicked and hardened men may not 

boast of this frantick man as a martyr, on account of hie 
ol^duracy, in his death there appeared such a brutal stupi- 
dity, as justifies the opinion, that he never acted at all seri- 
ously in religion. After the sentence of death was pronounced 
upon him, at one time he stood like a person astonished, at 
another he gave deep sighs, and at others he shrieked like 
one affrighted hj apparitions ; and this increased upon him, 
till he continually cried out, in the manner of the Spaniards, 
Mercy ! Mercy ! When he was brought to the place of pu- 
nishment, our brother and JMinister, Farel, with difficulty 
extorted from him, by earnest exhortation, his consent that 
the assembly sliould unite ^rith him in prayer. And truly, 
I do not see by what principle he should consent to have 
those do this, concerning whom he had written with his own 
hand, that they were ruled by a diabolical faith ; that they 
had no Church, no God, and that because they baptized in- 
fants, they denied Christ himself. But Farel ex- 

liorted the people to supplicate for him, and expressly, that 
the Lord would have mercy on this man, and would lead 
him back from his execrable errours, to a right mind, that 
he might not perish. In the mean time, although he gave 
no signs of repentance, he did not even attempt a word in 
the defence of his opinions. What, I ask, does this mean, that 
when placed under the hand of the executioner, and having 
obstinately/ refused to invoke the eternal Son of God, he did 

not, for he had the liberty, offer some defence at least ? 

I think it is quite evident, that as long as he thought he 
could sport himself with impunity, he conducted himself 
with far too much audaciousness ; but when the punishment 
due to his crimes was inflicted, he fell into despair. But 

1553 LIFE OF CALVIN. ^) 

more than enough has been said concerning the man, other 
things shall be placed in their order, in the description of his 
dogmatisms, where the reader may determine \\hether the 
man himself, or the errour, is indifferent and sufferable, or 
a vast and deep ocean of impieties, which A\^eal;en our whole 
faith, and indeed in a great measure entirely destroy its 
foundation. I do not propose to lay open the whole mass of 
confused mixtures, for I perceive this would be to plungo 
into thickets of briars and thorns, and wander in endless hv 
byrinths. It will be most useful to pursue the same com- 
pendious course, which we followed in the examination of 
the cause itself, that the nature of the doctrines being noted 
mider distinct heads, the readers may perceive what mon- 
strous things, no less detestable than multiform, are contain- 
ed in his books. How various and continued was the verbal 
dispute, and then after this, he repeated that complaint, that 
it was improper to conduct the trial about religion in the 
prison ; which I answered was true, and that I had from 
the beginning declared that nothing would be more grateful 
to me than that the points should be discussed in the house 
6f worship, in the presence of all the people. Nor was there 
any reason why I should avoid the light and presence of the 
assembly, where the cause most worthy of approbation would 
be watched by candid hearers. After all this, how ever, in; 
APPEALED TO OTHER Churches, Illc provoccirct cul ciUas Ec- 
clesias. This condition also was freely agreed to by me. 
Upon this our Senate, desirous to put an end to his prevari- 
cations, decreed that the propositions which I had selecte<l 
from Servetus^ books should be copied and given to him. 
By the same decree of the Senate, he was permitted to re- 
tract any thing which he should perceive tJiat he had un- 
justly Avritten ; and if he found any thing unfairly perverted 
by us, he might refute it ; — if he thought any of his opi- 
nions unjustly condemned, he might defend them from tire 

100 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1553 

woi-d of God. And that there might be no needless delay, 
I transcribed every article to a word. He had as muc];i 
time as he pleased to make out his answer to the proposi- 
tions, while to us there was allowed no more than two days. 
And besides all this, as he expected that it would meike his 
cause more plausible, if he made the closing defence, he 
again requested in wTiting, that this might be granted him, 
and he obtained this privilege also. But although he well 
understood, that the question to be decided was de capite 
suo, concerning his life, and that the neighbouring Churches 
were to be consulted, on w hose answer would depend the 
weighty previous sentence,^ yet how he continued to cavil, 
the readers will see, whom I would inform, lest there should 
be any suspicion, that there is not a single thing put down 
by me, in these propositions and replies, which w as not law- 
fully sealed and entered on the publick records." 

Tractatus Theologici Calvini, p. 522, 523. 

The following extracts from letters, written by several emi- 
nent Reformers, show that they concurred in opinion with 
Calvin on the subject of punishing hereticks ; and that they 
approved of his conduct in relation to Servetus : — 


" In all places there are good men who are of opinion, that 
impious and blasphemous hereticks are not only to be ad- 
monished and imprisoned, but also capite esse mulctandos, to 
he punished with death. Be not therefore discouraged that 
you have undertaken this labour. Tlie Lord will assist your 
holy endeavours and studies. I know that you have not a 
cruel disposition, nor do you approve of any cruelty. And 

* Whether the accusations were proved, and if prpved, whether he was 
gpilty of blasphemy. 

1553 LIFE OF CAI.VIN. ^01 

who does not Imow that there are proper limits to be fixed to 
this subject ? I do not see how it was possible to have spared 
Servetus, that most obstinate man, the very hydra of heresy. 
" Zurich, June 12, 1554." 

"*' Mjelancthon to Calvin. 

" Reverend and dear brother, I have read your ]>ook, in 
which you have clearly refuted the horrid blasphemies of 
Servetus ; and I give thanks to the Son of God, who was 
the /3ffle^fyr;j$, the awarder of your crown of victory, in this 
your comudt. To you also the Church owes gratitude at 
the present moment, and will owe it to the latest posterity. 
I perfectly assent to your opinion. I affirm also that your 
Magistrates did right in punishing, after a regular trial, this 
blasphemous man. 

« Oct. 14, 1554." 

" Melancthon to Bellinger. 

" Reverend and dear brother, — ^ I have 

read your answer to the blasphemies of Servetus ; and I ap- 
prove of your piety and opinions, I judge also that the Gene- 
vese Senate did perfectly right, to put an end to this obsti- 
nate man, who could never cease blaspheming. And I won.- 
der at those who disapprove of this severity. 

« August 20th." 

" Peter Martyr to Calvix. 

" I would not have you be retired in this extremity. It 
bitterly grieves me and all good men, that against the truth 
and your name, they spread such foolish and false things, 
about the eternal election of God, and the punishment of 

10^ LIFE OF CALVIN. 155^ 

hereticks with death. — But it is well, in what they write 
they dare not mention his (Scrvetus) name. As often as we 
are asked about this, both Zanchius and I defend your side 
of the question and the truth in pubhck and private, with 
all our strength. 

" SiRASBURG, May 9." 

Martyr had just returned from England to Strasburg, of 
whom Bishop Jewel said, that he was never to be named but 
with the highest respect and honour. 

From Allwoerden's life of Servetus, William Roscoe, in hiff 
history of the Pontificate of Leo X. vol. 4, p. 5M. Amer. 
Ed. selects three Letters, said to be written by him, while in 
prison, and addressed to the Lords, Syndicks and Senators of 
Geneva. The third letter only is of any material importance. 
In this Servetus expresses his views on the subject of capital- 
ly punishing hereticks and blasphemers for their opinions. 
The following is a translation of that letter, made from the 
French, for insertion in this work ; — 

*'My greatly honoured Lords, I am detained under a 
criminal accusation, on account of John Calvin, who has 
falsely accused me ; saying that I had written : — 

" First, that all souls were mortal 

** Secondly, that Jesus Christ took from the Virgin Mary, 
enhj a fourth part of his body, 

" These are horrible, and execrable things. Among all 
other heresies, and all other crimes, there is none so gi'eat, 
as to make the soul mortal. In all others, there is some 
hope of salvation, but in this there is none. "Whoever says 
it, does not believe, that there exists either God, or justice, 
Or resurrection, or Jesus Christ, or holy scripture, or any 
thing ; ])ut all at death, man and beast, are both the same 
thing. If I liad said that, not only said, but written and 


piibJished it, to infect the ^vorld, / should condemn myself to 
death* Therefore, my Lords, I demand that my false accu- 
ser be punished pxna talionis, and be detained prisoner as I 
am, until the cause is determined by my death or hi?, or by 
some other punishment. For this I inscribe myself against 
him on the said pana talionis ; and am contented to die, if lie 
is not convicted as well of this as of other things, which I 
shall allege against him. I demand justice of you, my 
Lords, justice, justice, justice. — Done in your prison at Ge- 
neva, this 22d of September, 1553. 

« MICHEL SERVETUS, in his own behalf.'^ 

The Ministers of the Church of Geneva had selected thir- 
ty-eight propositions, =^ from the writings of Servetus, in proof 
of the accusation made against him of heresy and blasphe- 
my, by Nicholas de la Fontaine. The first proposition is 
as follows : — 

I. " Omnes qui Trinitatem statuunt in essentia Dei, esse 
Tritoitas, veros Atheos ; nee Deum habere nisi tripartitum 
et aggregativum. Item habere connotativum Deum, non 
sibsolutum : imaginarios habere Deos, et illusiones dasmonio- 
rum. Lib. 1, de Trinitate, pag. 30. Quibus respondet 
quod add it pagina sequenti : Somnia ut voles, dirige oculos 
ad phantasmata, et tunc videbis tuam Trinitatem non esse 
intelligibilem sine tribus phantasmatibus. Tandem conclu^. 
dit omnes Trinitarios esse Atheos." 

In the preceding letter, Servetus mentions only two of the 
thirty-eight propositions, the nineteenth and thirty-eighth. 
The nineteenth respects the body of Jesus Clirist, and is as 
follows : — 

XIX. " Tria eleraenta esse ab utroque parente tarn ia 
Christo quam in nobis. Terream vero materiam esse a sola 

* For the whole ^irty-cight propositions, see Opu.scula Calvini, pp- 
523, 524. 

104 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1553 

matre tam in Christo quam in generalibus omnibus. Undc 
sequitur ilium non habuisse corpus nostro simile : id quod 
perisde est ac redemptionem nostram delere. Dial. 2, de 
Trinit. p. 250. Quod etiam plenius exprimit, lib. 5, de Tri- 
nit. p. 194, quum dicit in nobis solum esse elementa creata ; 
in Christo esse creata et increata, et sul^stantiam Spiritus Dei, 
ipsi carni substantialiter communicatam.'* 

The two first periods of this proposition read literally 
thus : — " Three elements are from each parent, so in Christ 
as in us ! But the earthly matter is from the mother alone, 
so in Christ as in all universals." Here then it may be left 
with Mr. Ptoscoe, or any other advocate of Servetus, to ex- 
plain how much more, in fact, than one fourth part of his 
body Servetus allowed the divine Redeemer to have deriv- 
ed from his virgin mother. 

Tlie following is the other proposition mentioned in the 
above letter : — 

XXXVIII. " Animam redditam esse mortalem per pec- 
catum, sicut caro mortalis est ; non quod in nihilum anima 
redeat, sicut nee caro. Sed mori quando cum dolore vita- 
libus actionibus privatur, et inferno languem detinetur quasi 
non amplius victura. Lib. 4, de Regeneratione, p. 551. 
Deinde concludit regenitos aliam habere animam quam 
ante ; propter substantiam innovatam, et novam Deitatem ad- 
junctam. Pagina sequent'i." 

This proposition shall be literally translated. 
" The soul becomes mortal by sin, so as the flesh is mor- 
tal ; not that the soul returns into nothing, so as neither does 
the flesh. But at death, when with pain it is deprived of 
vital action, it is also detained languishing in hell, as no 
more to live. Book 4, on Regeneration, p. 551. From this 
he concludes, that the regenerated have another soul than 
that which they had before; on account of the substance 
changed, and the new Godhead joined to it. p. 552.'* 



Who will not now say with Servetus, That these are horri- 
ble and execrable things ? And who wiU not admit, that 
this man « said them, not only said, but wrote them, to in- 
fect the world ?" And that therefore, according to his own 
sentence upon himself, he deserved to die ? For tlie benefit of 
Mr. Roscoe, the testimony of Servetus, approving and justify- 

mg the punishment of hereticks with death, is now brought 
distinctly under his eye. 

Although Mr. Roscoe appears somewhat at variance with 
himself, in the progress of his writings, and sometimes talks 
like a Papist, sometimes like a Protestant, and many times like 
neither, he appears nevertheless w^W pleased to strengthen Iiis 
assertions by the names of Ecclesiasticks, more effectually to 
wound the cause of the Reformation. He cautiously intimates 
the fact, that AUwoerden ^vrote his life of Servetus, « at the 
instance of the learned Mosheim." Mosheim was a Lutheran, 
and the English translator of his ecclesiastical history. Dr.' 
Maclaine, has repeatedly noticed the unfairness of that au- 
thor, in his treatment of Calvin and the reformed Churches. 
While Luther is exalted with a bold pre-eminence, Zuingli* 
us, Calvin and even Melancthon are thrown quite into thQ 
shade on the back ground of his history. It is also too evident 
that Mosheim, in his account of Servetus and his opinions* 
has glossed the harshness of his blasphemies, and Avith m 
small address laboured to make him appear somewhat dignified 
in his errours. But the historian that could slight and pass 
over, as though nearly below notice, as Mosheim does, the learn- 
ed Gaspard Peucer,# who, for openly professing the opinion 
ef Calvm, was, by the rigid Lutherans, confined ten years 
m prison, must be suspected of some sinister design in pro- 
curmg to be written, as well as in writing himself, the histo- 

* See Maclaine's note on AXosh. vol. 4, p. 49 ; and other notes In which 
He warns his reader that Mosheim was a Lutheran. 


106 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1553 

ry of such a man as Servetus. The testimony of Mosheim 
is not therefore to be admitted, without caution, in any 
case which affects the Swiss reformed Churches, or their Mi- 

In his history of Leo, vol. 4, at p. 117, Mr. Roscoe has in- 
serted a very laborious note, in which he has given full vent 
to his prejudices against the first Reformers. The reason for 
dropping his remarks in a note were doubtless because the 
burning of Servetus would not synchronize with the death of 
Leo ; and to have throAvn it to the end of the volume would 
have placed it, not so immediately under the notice of the 
reader. Mr. Roscoe is a living author, distinguished by the 
elegance of his writings, and as a member of Parliament from 
Liverpool. Eager to grasp Calvin, Melancthon and BuUin- 
ger, as the victims of publick prejudice, he has pressed him- 
self into the path of the biographer of Calvin, and of course 
no other apology will be offered for the subsequent remarks. 

Bishop Warburton, in his notes on Pope's Essay on Criti- 
cism, condemns Luther, Calvin and their followers, as igno- 
rant of the principles of Christian charity ; and at the same 
time commends Erasmus for his liberal sentiments. Under 
the shield of that gigantick Prelate, JMr. Roscoe introduces 
his ungenerous assertions, to wound the cause and the repu- 
tation of the Reformers. The Bishop however, who often, 
and sometimes with dignity, wandered out of the track of 
common sense, is unfortunate in noticing Erasmus, as an in- 
stance of any distinguished Christian tolerance. For it is a fact 
that Erasmus did maintain " in his Epistles against some," 
(that is the Reformers at Basil,) " who falsely call themselves 
Evangelists, that there were certain cases in which they 
might lawfully be punished capitalhj, as blasphemers and sedi- 
tious persons.'*'' ^uid autem vet at, inquit, ne Princeps hcereti- 

* Rees' Cyclopedia, art. Eras, and Baylf 

1553 LIFE OF CALVIN. 107 

cos turbantes publicam tranquillitatcm e medio tollat ?^ No 
one of the Reformers ever contended for a power in the civil 
Magistracy more extensive than this for Mliich Erasmus 
pleads. The duplicity of Erasmus should not be dii^nified 
by the term of toleration. For with all his wit and learning-, 
and he had much of both, he was of a temporizing and va- 
frous mind, who did in his way much of the work of a Re- 
former, and still lived and died professedly a Papist. 

" The execution of Servetus," says Mr. Roscce, " is thus 
described in a manuscript historj/y cited by Allwoerden and 
published in ir28." He gives the quotation in the Latin. 
The translation is as follows ; — " Servetus is fastened to a 
post fixed in the ground, with his feet reaching the earth ; a 
wreath of straw or leaves is put upon his head and sprinkled 
with sulphur ; his body is bound with iron chains to the 
stake, and the neck tied with a large heavy quadrupled or 
quintupled rope : The book is girt to his thigh : He asked 
the executioner whether he should torture him long ? In the 
mean tipie the Carnifex moved the fire in his presence, and 
then round the circle. The man seeing the fire cried out so 
horribly, that he greatly terrified the multitude. When he 
had long languished, some of the people threw on hurdles, 
he crying out with a horrible voice, Jesu, Fili Dei ateniiy 
miserere mei, — Jesus, Son of the eternal God, have mercy on 
me. After suffering about half an hour he expired." — This 
account of the execution of Servetus, made from a manu- 
script irO years after the event, is of itself suspicious. Farel, 
and the other Ministers who were present at the Charapel, la- 
boured, previous to his execution, to have him sliew some 
signs of repentance. Servetus, according to Beza,f said, I 
confess that Christ is the Son of the eternal God — Ego 
Christum asterni Dei filium esse fateor. Observing the sub« 

• Beza de Hxreticis a magistratu puniendis. Tract. Tlieol. p. 95. 
f DeHxreticis a mag-istratu puniei\dis—in Tract, Theol, p. 115. 

108 LIFE OF CALVIN, 1553 

terfuge, they entreated him to acknowledge Christ, not only 
to be tlie Son of the eternal God, but the eternal Son of God. 
This he refused, and the Ministers of Geneva state, in their 
refutation of his errours, that he obstinately refused to invoke 
the eternal Son of God — sternum Dei Filium invocare pertl- 
naciter renueret. It is not probable therefore, that Servetu* 
invoked the mercy even of the Son of the eternal God. It 
need only be added, not with the expectation of mollifying 
the bigoted virulence of those, who are most liberally credu- 
lous as it respects any thing that may wound religion, that it 
is not to be supposed that the man invoked the mercy of 
the eternal Son of God, who had, in more than a hundred places 
in his printed books, boldly called the triune God a triple head- 
ed Cerberus — a phantom of devils — a Geryon monster, — an il- 
lusion of Satan.^ 

Thus far Mr. Roscoe has shielded himself under the notes 
of Warburton, and the manuscript of AUwoerden. But this 
Knight-errant historian of Leo X. must now be noticed in a 
more mortifying attitude, as he advances to attack the first 
fathers of the Reformation, by his own personal and naked as- 
sertions. Forgetting every thing but " their violence," h« 
follows up his favourite description of the burning of Serve- 
tus with a position unbecoming a historian, Avho would secure 
to himself the confidence of his readers. In his quixotick 
adventure against " protestant priests," he deliberately writes 
and publishes — " What Calvin did not scruple to PERFORjf, 
Mklancthon and Bullinger did not hesitate to approve." 
The mind tliat has the least savour of candour, that possesses 
even the tolerance of Eirasmus, must revolt at this historian's 

* Plus centum locis, says the statement of the Genevese Ministers, Trin* 
itas simpliciter ab eo vocatur triceps Cerberus, diabolicum phantaama, Ge« 
ryonis monstrum, illusio Satan3e, et quid non ? Tract. Theol. Cal. p. 549. 

Geryonis monstrum. — Geryon a King of Spain divided his kingdom into 
tlirec parts, and was fabled to have three bodies.— Ainsworth. 

1553 LIFE OF CALVIN. 109^ 

intemperate " calumny against the truth of history.'' Re- 
proachful aspersions, when uttered by a person of a low cha- 
racter, whose word attaches to itself some special discredit, 
may be permitted to pass with indifference, as carrying with 
them their own refutation. But when William Roscoe, the 
historian, writes that Calvin was the executioner of Servetus, 
he can have no plea in bar of a full exposure, as asserting that, 
for the truth of which he has neither given, nor can give any 
proof. In following him through his quotations to shew, 
that Melancthon and Bullinger approved of what Calvin j^cr- 
formed, the burning of Servetus, he is found, with shallow 
and petulant minds, picking up the very dirt of slander and 
malicious irony ; and too restless to stay his pen, with " such 
were the sentiments of the we/ri ^wci candid Melancthon," he 
presses on to close the climax of his note, by profanely quot- 
ing an expression from the scriptures, « and such the first 
fruits of the reformation.''' 

Mr. Roscoe is now calmly asked, for there is no unpleasant 
apprehension respecting the answer he can give, in a\ hat vol- 
ume, and at what page is the testimony to be found, that 
proves Calvin to have been even instrumental in procuring 
the burning of Servetus ? Mr. Roscoe will not, it is presum- 
ed, even pretend, that Calvin was present at the place of exe- 
cution, or that he saw, at any remote distance, the dismal 
spectacle. The most favourable construction, which his 
words will admit, is that Calvin was the means, that it was 
through his influence and personal exertions, that Servetus 
was tied to the stake, and suffered the punishment of burn- 
ing. Is Mr. Roscoe still to be informed, that Calvin interce- 
ded with the Senate, to have the sentence of burning com- 
muted for some punishment less ignominious ; and that of 
course he was opposed to that kind of punishment ? How 
then will he make good his assertion, by any consistent con- 
struction, that C^Wm performed the act of burning Servetus ? 

110 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1553 

The extreme prejudices of this historian are evinced, by his 
stretching a note across the foot of tliree pages, and append- 
ing to his work the three letters of Servetus, relating to a 
fact that did not occur till more than thirty years after the 
death of the profligate, indolent ami prophane Leo, whose life 
he has appropriately chosen to write. Ought not iMr. Roscoe 
to have examined the subject, before he ventured to throw 
out, upon second hand quotations, such ungenerous aspersions 
against Calvin, the other Reformers, and the Reformation 
itself ? 

A Review of some facts relative to the apprehension and trial 
of Servetus ; with further notice of Mr, Eoscoe^s note, 

IBoth in his letters, and the exposition of the errours of 
Servetus, Calvin frankly confesses, that Nicholas de la Fon- 
taine proceeded at his request to accuse Servetus ; — that he 
dictated the articles of the charge ; — that by his influence 
the civil power committed him to prison, and required him 
to defend his opinions ; — and that thus some entrance was 
made upon the cause. But Calvin appeals to his conduct, 
in the progress of the examination, for proof, that his design 
was to lead this a^vrfully wicked man to repentance, and to 
stop the flood of impiety which he was pouring forth on the 
world, to destroy the very foundations of morals and reli- 
gion. He states that, having taken the oath of citizenship, 
he was bound to advise his apprehension, as he personally 
knew the fact of Servetus' heresy and blasphemy. Calvin 
also knew, that the Papists had long and bitterly reproached 
the Reformers, the Genevese Republick, and himself espe- 
cially, with receiving and protecting those whom they call- 
ed hcrcticks. To have done this in the case of Servetus, 
would have given substantial grounds for their invectives 
against Geneva, which they called the seat of heresy. And 


how, under the existing circumstances, habits and opinions, 
would Calvin and the Reformers have been reproached, had 
they protected this fugitive from the inquisitorial prison of 
Vienne ? Doubtless all those, who now revile thera on the 
one hand, would in that case condemn them on the other, as 
the protectors of a convicted blasphemer. Servetus had 
wandered about Italy for some time,# after his escape from 
the prison of Vienne, without finding any place where he 
Hiight be secure from the rage of the Papists. It is evident 
that they were in pursuit of him, from the fact, that the 
Vice-bailiff of Vienne, on the 31st of August, formally de- 
manded him of the Senate of Geneva as their prisoner. And 
when this application was made, what did the illustrious 
Senate of Geneva do ? They proposed to Servetus to make his 
own election, whether he would be conducted back to Vienne, 
where he had lived as a Physician, " ten or twelve years" ; 
or abide the issue of his trial at Geneva. He not only deli- 
berately chose the latter,f but with tears besought the Se- 
nate not to send him back to Vienne. At this time he well 
knew the laws of this city, — the progress of the trial, — and 
that the Senate had declared the charges against him to be 
proved. He also knew the manner in which Calvin had ad- 
vised him to retract his errours, and his forbearance, not on- 
ly under the shameful treatment of the books which he ge- 
nerously lent him, but also after the most furious and mad 

* Calvin, in one of his letters, says three or four months. This he said' 
doubtless from reports, which he might have heard relative to his escape 
from Vienne, which was before the 17th June. 

f See Life of Servetus, anonymous, published at London, 1724, p. 118.— 
Also, Biographical Dictionary, Art, Servetus. The effigy of Servetus, v/itk 
five bales of his books, was carried in a dung-cart to the Chavneve, and 
bui'nt with a slow fire, according to sentence, on tlie 17tli of June, by the 
common hangman at Yiennc. See the above Life, 8cc.p. 77. 

112 LIFE OF CALVm. 155S 

abuse heaped upon him in the presence of the Senate. " If 
he had been," says Calvin, " in any manner curable, he 
would have been in no danger of any farther punishment." 

It was however the deUberate opinion of Calvin, as it was 
of all other good men of that age, that the scriptures war- 
ranted the power, and made it the duty of the civil Magis- 
tracy, to restrain with the sword, those obstinate hereticks and 
blasphemers, who persisted in disseminating their opinions. 
Nothing can equal the impiety of Servetus before the Senate. 
He furnished the same proof against himself on his trial at Ge- 
neva, as it is said he had before done by his blasphemous lan- 
guage in the inquisitorial court of Vienne. When Calvin 
saw, that he was most outrageously bent on his own ruin ; 
that, as he observes in a letter to Sulcer, Servetus had passed 
beyond the hope of repeiitance^ he expressed himself as fol- 
lows, in a letter to Farel, " I hope the sentence at least will 
be capital, but I desire that the severity of the punishment may 
he remitted.'*'' " From the time," says Calvin, " that the 
Senate pronounced the charges against him to be proved, I 
never uttered a word concerning his punishment,''^ Now does 
this, Mr. Roscoe, look like malice, like the hatred of a man 
pursuing another with murderous intentions ? If Servetus 
had been guilty only of theft or burglary, who would have 
abused Calvin for advising his apprehension, or furnishing 
the evidence of the crime for his conviction ? But a blas- 
phemer may surpass all common prophanity against the most 
holy God, the divine Saviour and Sanctifier, and for more 
than twenty years be diligent at the work of inventing new 
and piquant terms of blasphemy, and publish them, although 
conscious of their corrupt and deadly tendency : This opin- 
ionist may proceed, deliberately, to cast his pestiferous poison 
into the very fountain of the waters of life, that the streams 
may transmit imperceptible and certain death to the souls of 
theliuman race : But if a minister of that God who is so bias- 

1553 LIFE OF CALVIN. 113 

phenicd opens his advice, even when under oath to do it, and 
affords any assistance, when bound by conscience, to endea- 
vour to bring tJie awfully wicked man, not to punishment, 
but to repentance :— Then it is, that the nei'vous system oi" 
some men is put all on a shiver. So jealous are they of 
the rights of man, and so indifferent to the rights of God, 
tliat their blood runs cold, even at the remote recollection 
of the legal execution of such a man ; and becoming blind to 
every otlier o])ject, they are prompt, hke Mr. Roscoe, to 
« challenge the annals of persecution to furnish anotlier sucli 
instance of atrocious cruelty." 

In the exposition of the errours of Servetus, Calvin in- 
forms his readers. That he did not consider it a matter of cmi- 
sequence for him to refute the calumny iiiventcd to asperse 
hi?}? hy factious, foolish or malicious 7nen or drunkards. In 
passing over those insignificant calumniators with silent and 
dignified indifference, he doubtless misjudged. He had not 
conceived, that his writings would be of such Aveight witli 
posterity, as to excite the continued hostility of the Papist, 
the Socinian and the Infidel ; much. Jess of the professed 
Christian moralist. He probably did not rank himself so 
high as to suppose, that the Perrins, Berteliers and Bolsecks, 
who personally sought to blast his reputation while he liv- 
ed, would have such a numerous body of descendants, w]io 
would invent new calumnies and repeat old ones, to asperse 
iiim through successive ages. But yet it is possil>le tliat, 
from his intercourse with such men, he did judge, that there 
were characters, and that from the very nature of man 
there would always be those, upon whom reasoning, ho\\ ever 
forcible, and facts, however stubborn, would have little or no 
influence ; who 7vill revile rashly the most benevolent d( fend- 
ers of divine truth, because they will revile. 

It has become so much a matter of /course, ^viih a certain 
class of writers, to sjKjak evil of Calvin, thnt Ibe ])aj-e asscr- 


lion of any thing reproachful about him passes currently 
with tliem without either proof, or even semblance of pro- 
bability. The compilers of Biographical Dictionaries, Cyclo- 
paedias and Encyclopfedias, have dealt liberally in unauthoris- 
ed assertions on this subject. In one life of Servetus, Calvin 
is charged 7vith pursuing him with malevolence and fury ^ — with 
brutal and furious treatment of him at his trial, — with dissimu- 
lation and malevolence towards him after his condemnation^ — 
That he acted in all this affair from motives merely personal ; 
— and when the candid reader casts about his eye for the 
proofs, and proofs he has a right to demand in support of 
such high charges, — what does he find ? Why, indeed the 
word of the calumniator — That every body believes this ; and 
a second is — That nobody can doubt it. The above charges, 
and authorities to prove them, are quoted nearly verbatim 
from the life of Servetus in the new and general Biographical 
Dictionary, published in London in 12 vols. ir84. These 
unknown writers, who stab in the dark, have been so eager to 
calumniate Calvin, that they have attempted to dignify Ser- 
vetus with the learning of Sydenham, the inventive powers 
of Harvey,^^ and the mild morals of Boerhave, They fur- 
nish a specimenf of abusive and bold assertions affecting the 
character of the Genevese Reformer, which strongly evinces, 
that they have pursued him with malevolence and fury. 

* Harvey discovered the circulation of the blood, &c. but those writers^ 
in their rage to honour Servetus, have attempted to credit this man " ofpro' 
digious leariwig'^ with that discovery; and the Zearnec? Wotton says, that 
the very learned Charles Bernard could inform him no farther, only that 
he had it from a /ear;je J friend, who copied it from Servetus. The authori- 
ty is then, a learned friend said so. 

f Dr. Lempriere, in his late universal Biography, has detailed facts witli 
the same spirit as that of his predecessors, in his short life of Servetus. He 
has however improved upon Alhvoerden's manuscript, by saying that ** two 
Jong hours elapsed" while Servetus wais burning at the stake. 

1553 LIFE OF CALVIN.^ 115 

As Mr. Roscoe is one of the latest writers, who has assum- 
ed the task of hunting down Calvin, with unqualified ac- 
cusations of injustice and cruelty in the aiiair of Servetus, it 
is not improper to request him, as he has both learning and 
leisure, to point out, on legitimate testimony, any one sen- 
tence which that Divine has Avritten, or any one action of 
his, in the imprisonment and trial of Servetus, wliich, when 
measured by the habits and principles of that age, shows 
the least want of integrity or moderation ; or which mani- 
fests any symptoms of cruelty of disposition, or personal hat- 
fed towards him ; or that he rejoiced at his condemnation or 
his death. By that standard, let this historian, who is so 
well versed in the knowledge of the opinions of that ])eriod, 
name a single fact fairly authenticated, that proves in Calvin 
a disposition incompatible with an honest desire for the re- 
pentance and recantation of those enormous errours, by which 
Servetus might have not only escaped punishment, but have 
been treated with friendship at Geneva. If such writers 
will assert, that Calvin acted from personal hatred to^vards 
Servetus, let it be proved, not by sly, insinuating suggestions, 
and unfounded assertions, but by a fair statement of facts, 
and a candour of testimony, that will at least convince the 
understanding, and do away the imputation, which now in- 
evitably fastens upon them, that they are wilful calumniators. 
As it is possible that Mr. Roscoe has not read Theodore 
Beza's Tract De hmreticis a civili Magistratu piinicndisy he 
may be informed that it is to be found in the first volume of 
that author's Theological Tracts. In this work is an exten- 
sive illustration of the views and opinions of the ancier^t Fa- 
thers and early Reformers of the Christian Church, relative 
to the right and duty of the civil Magistracy to punish here- 
ticks. At pages 94 and 148, the opinion of Luther is given, 
and his words expressly quoted, to prove tliat he maintained, 
that hereticks were to be restrained and punished by the Q\\i\ 

116 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1553 

I^Tagistracy. In the same work it also appears, that this was 
the o])itiion of Melaiicthon, of Urbanus Regius, of the Saxon 
Church, of.Brentius, of Erasmus, of Bucer, of Capito, of 
Cullinger, of I\Iusculus, and of the Genevese Church. To 
tliese distinguished Reformers, the names of ahnost all others 
miglit be added, to prove that Calvin's opinion on that sub- 
ject was only the opinion of all other learned and pious men 
of that period. It is also to be noticed, that Melancthon, 
BuUingcr, Peter ]\lartyr, Hemmingius, Farel, Beza, Bishop 
JIall and others approved expressly, and in writing, of the 
conduct of Calvin, and also of the final sentence of the Senate 
of Geneva, in punishing capitally the man, who called the 
triune Unity of God a three headed Cerberus, and a triple 
bodied monster. Now would it be agreeable to the panegyr- 
ist of the profligate Leo to pack his jury, and in the 19th cen- 
tury try a case; which occurred in the 16tli, by the modern 
principles of li])erality and expediency ? Truth is indeed un- 
changeable ; but the opinions of men vary essentially in suc- 
cessive periods. The change at times has been rapid, under 
the influence of minds distinguished by acuteness of intellect, 
and habituated to sober investigation, Calvin himself is an 
instance of the powerful command, which a great and com- 
prehensive mind may have over the current of opinion. He 
arrested tlic attention, and directed the thoughts of multitudes 
into a nc\f ciiannel en the great doctrines of religion. As the 
judicious Hooker says, " thousands were debtors to him, yet 
he to none, but only to God, the author of his talents, and 
that blessed fountain, the word of life." But no man, no 
age has been great and perfect in every thing. Depraved man 
has, in every period, discovered his apostacy and weakness. 
The successive exertions of the greatest minds have given 
abundant proofs, that the most vigorous powers of intellect 
are at a humiliating distance from comprehending all the re- 
lations of morality and religion, even under the guidance of 

hboo LIFE OF CALVIN. 117 

revelation. A thousand instances might be adduced, from 
Civilians and Ecclcsiasticks, to exemplify this f^taU ment. For 
instance, men of the most comprehensive mindn believed, in 
the middle of the IStli century, the lawfulness of slavery, 
which, in the beginning of the 19th, is severely reprobated as 
unjust and cruel, ])y every uninterested and well informed 
mind. J3ut would it be correct for Mr. Roscoe, or any other 
person, to assert that the most learned and pious men of the 
18th century were of an atrocious and malevolent disposi- 
tion, because they justified a principle which, in its practical 
effects, was productive of the most horrid cruelties to mil- 
lions of human beings possessing equal personal rights v. ith 
themselves. Will Mr. Roscoe then, and others like hira, 
complacently indulge their hostile prejudices on such per- 
verse and uncandid grounds, in order to revile the Reformers, 
the greatest and best of men, v, ho more than most others of 
any age laboured, with apostolick ardour, to act in the fear of 
God ? It will not be controverted but that, in this liberal 
age, there is in a very numerous class of writers a bigoted lib- 
erality towards all those opinions which inflict wounds on the 
vital doctrines of revelation. This is precisely that appropriate 
liberality, which the Senate of Geneva noticed in Servetus at 
his trial ; a liberality towards the grossest superstitions, and a 
zealous concern for the most heretical innovations in religion, 
while the worship of God, in all its forms, ^vas by hira neg- 
lected and despised. 

One important fact in the case of Servetus has been passed 
over, by every biographer of Calvin, who has attended to 
that subject. Servetus, after a full examination and defence 
before the Senate, and after the Consistory had laboured to 
confute and reclaim him from his errours, appealed to the Sniss 
Churehes. This appeal was made before the Consistory had 
given their judicial opinion on thepohit at issue, whether the 
allegations, which the Senate had pronounced to be proved, 

118 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1553 

amounlecl to heresy and blasphemy. On his appeal to the 
Churches of Zurich, Schaffhausen, Bern and Basil, the Sen- 
ate immediately ordered the thirty-eiglit propositions select- 
ed from his writings to be copied and given to Servetus. 
By the same decree, he was permitted to retract any of his 
opinions ; refute any of the propositions, or defend himself 
against any thing which he judged to be unjustly alleged. 
To make his defence he had as much time as he pleased. 
The whole case was reduced to writing, and, together with 
the privileged reply of Servetus and his books, was forwarded, 
by the hand of the Questor of the city, to the Swiss Church- 
es, who were now to determine the question— Whether he was 
guilty of heresy and blasphemy. Servetus well understood 
that the question to be determined was de capite suo. The 
gratuitous reply which he deliberately made, on a case so 
deeply interesting, is noticed by the Church of Zurich when 
they say in their letter, the reply or gloss of Servetus con- 
tains little else, but extreme impudence and detestable outrage. 
It is indeed a curiosity, and may be found verbatim in the 
refutation of the errours of Servetus by the Genevese Minis- 
ters, in the volume of Calvin's Opuscula. It is no presump- 
tion to say, that in point of abuse and scurrility, this defence 
stands unrivalled, by any one that was ever made by any de- 
fendant, however infatuated, in the most desperate cause. 
In their answers, the four Swiss Churches decided the pre- 
vious question, that Servetus was a heretick and an obstinate 
blasphemer. Upon this decision, and not upon the opin- 
ions of their o^n consistory, the Senate rendered their judg> 
raent against him, according to their long established laws. 

In the face of circumstances so forbearing and so generous, 
^r. Roscoe in his note abruptly challenges, that « the an- 
nals of persecution cannot furnish a more atrocious instance of 
bigotry and cruelty, than the burning of Servetus in a Pro- 
testant city by Protestant Priests."— He asserts In the next 

1553 LIFE OF CALVIN. 119 

breath, that he was " the unhappy victim of ecclesiastical 
tyranny ;" and refers to the three letters of Servetus at the 
end of his volume, as the sole and high proof of the charge, 
" from which the reader may judge of the cruelty and injus- 
tice of his tyrannical and bigoted persecutors, tJie Ecclesias- 
tic ks and Magistrates of Geneva^" He then closes his le- 
gendary note with, " such were the first fruits of the Re- 

This illiberal defender of liberality, like a true disciple of 
Gibbon, studies to soil the cause of pure religion, and to de- 
form the characters of the best of men, while at the same 
time he labours to dignify a profligate Pope, and to elevate 
an impious blasphemer. He may however be challenged 
temperately to name, not merely in the annals of persecution, 
but even in the records of criminal justice, an instance of 
more moderation and liberality, than was exercised by the 
Magistrates of Geneva in the trial of Servetus. Let this 
learned historian lay his finger on the page of the history of 
any man, who has been burnt for his religious opinions or 
writings, that was not a victim to more cruel tyranny, and 
treated with less moderation than that Spaniard. liCt him ex- 
tend his vision into Holland and Germany and from the ma- 
ny thousand victims^ who fell beneath the hand of the exe- 
cutioner, in the diiferent persecutions carried on by Charles 
V. and his successors, select the most favourable instance for 
his purpose, and the issue of the comparison is challenged, as 
proof of more cruelty and injustice , on the part of the impe- 
rial persecutors, than iii the case of the Swiss Churches and 
Magistrates of Geneva. Let him, if it will not be too much 
for the overflowing sympathies of his liberal heart, turn his 
view to a land to be seen across his country's channel, that 

* A writer in the Christ. Obs. vol. 4. p. 616, referring ta Grotius- for au- 
thority, says, IQO^jOOO. 

120 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1553 

little barrier under Providence of the liberties of man, and 
there, during the unshackled reign of infidel l^enevolence and 
philosophick humanity, instance from the annals of persecu- 
tion, in that period of full day light, a single case out of tliou- 
sands that may, from its miidness and gentleness, put the 
Christian I\Iagistrates of Geneva to the blush for \\-hat he calls 
their " unparalleled cruelty and injustice," in the trial and 
execution of Servetus. 

Zuinglius began to preach the pure doctrine at Zurich 
in 1516. Thirty-seven years had elapsed before the sen- 
tence was executed upon Servetus, which the historian of 
Leo calls « the fint fruits of the Reformation'' ; of that glo- 
rious a3ra, « when," as he observes, " Europe saw the lumi- 
nary of classical learning at a higher meridian than at any 
time before or since." But were no eifects produced by the 
preaching of the pure doctrines, and the translation of the 
scriptures into the difTerent living languages, which, with 
more correctness and less bigotry, might have received that 
scriptural appellation ? The enquiry is not put to his can- 
dour, that Avould be yielding more than the case requires, 
but the appeal is made to him in all his prejudices against 
" Prophets and Pseudo-Prophets;' to answer the question. 
But waving the question, and admitting that persecutions 
and burnings were the first fruits of loosening the chains 
of Popish thraldom, and opening the pure Iv^U of the Gos- 
pel upon the people at large, will the result of an examina- 
tion be such as to vindicate the bold assertion, that the 
burning of Servetus was the earnest of the harvest ? It can 
be no pleasant task, m which the candid and truly liberal 
mind will volunteer, to expose even the infirmities of men, 
who acted according to the principles then commonly admits 
ted, by bringing their actions and opinions to the standard 
M'hich the progress of more than Iavo centuries has fixed as 
the measure of toleration. This is to exercise the same uncha- 


ritable and persecuting; spirit, for which tlie fathers of the 
Reformation are condemned and ungenerously reproaclied, 
by those who are apparently ignorant of the corruption of 
human nature, and destitute of that knowledge of them- 
selves, which would convince them, that their own cir- 
cumstances need only be changed, and with all their boasted 
philanthropy, their pride and selfishness would prompt them 
to kindle the fires of persecution, upon all who did not bum 
incense to their licentious and bigoted liberality. In decid- 
ing upon the moral quality of the opinions and actions of 
men of other times, it is an imperious duty to examine tlie 
civil and religious circumstances in which they lived ; to 
weigh well the habits and even the prejudices under whicli 
they laboured, the rules of right and wrong, of comiuenda- 
tion and blame, ^vliich they adopted, and tlie degrees of 
knowledge which enlightened their path, so as not to exact 
from them the use of talents whicJi they did not possess. 
True liberality will restrict the enquiry to this point, 
Did they act consistently with their avowed principles, and 
conscientiously in respect to the will of God ? 

The subject is with reluctance pursued : but the state- 
ment of seme facts may remind those persons who may ea- 
sily forget, or who perhaps do not know, that while tlicy so vi- 
olently impugn, and so falsely accuse Calvin, they reproach, 
at the same breath,some of the highest Dignitaries, and most re- 
spectable Civilians of the English Church. Those distinguish, 
ed men preceded the Genevese in burning hcreticks ; and 
they doubtless acted with more integrity tlian tliose who, 
at this time of day, revile them, with selected epithets, for 
punishing with death obstinate oifenders against the autho- 
rity of Goa. As Mr. Roscoe, with all his learning, appears 
to be unread in thf^^^nglish annals of persecution, lie may with 
deference be asked to examine a page or two in Bishop Bur- 
net's « Miston/ of the Reformation of the Church (^f JCng- 


129 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1553 

tand'^ vol. 2, p. lOo — lOf, anno 1549. Ample credit is 
due to the authority of Dr. Burnet. In following hira, the 
rodcr feels a confidence that he shall not designedly be led 
astray ; and is liberated from thoseJ doubts and suspicions 
of fallacy, which spring up and trouble him as he advances 
over the pages of some more elegant historians. " On the 
12th of April, 151?9," on complaint against those who went 
under the name of Anabaptists, " for disseminating their er- 
rours and making proselytes, a commission was ordered for 
the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishops of Ehj, Worces- 
ter, Westminster, Chichester, Lincoln and Rochester, Sir Wil- 
Ham Fetre, Sir Thomas Smith, Dr. Cox, Dr. May and some 
others, (three of them being a quorum,) to examine and 
search after all Anabaptists, liereticks, or contemners of the 
Common Prayer, They were to endeavour to reclaim them, 
to enjoin them penance, and give them absolution : or, if 
they Mere obstinate, to excommunicate and imprison them, 
and to deliver them over to the secular poiver to be fur- 
ther proceeded against." 

" Some tradesmen in London v. ere brought before these 
Commissioners in IMay.'* They abjured their former opi- 
nions, and were acquitted. " One of those was ordered to 
carry <i faggot, next Sabbath, at St. PauPs, where there 
should be a sermon setting forth his heresy.* — But there 
was another of these extremely obstinate, Joan Bocher, com^ 
:monly called Joan of Kent." Her errour in short was, — 
" That she denied that Jesus Christ took his flesh of the 
Virgin Mary, because her flesh ^vas sinful. They took much 
pains, and held many conferences with her. But she was 
so extravagantly conceited of her own notions, that she re- 
jected all they said with scorn ; whereupon she was adjudge- 

* Strype, in his Annals, calls this man by the name of Putto. The law 
for carrying the faggot to the Church was enacted in 1545, under Henry 
VIII._.Kears Hist. Puritans, vol. 1, p. 27, qunrto edit 

1553 LIFE OF CALVIN. 123 

cd an obstinate Iierctick, and so left to the scevlar ponrr^ 
The young King, EdM ard YI. refused to sign the ^\'an•ant 
dc eomburcjido, for burning her. Cranmcr and Ridley took 
the woman into custody to their own houses to reclaim lier ; 
but she persisted ^\ith contemptuous jeers and insolence,^ 
aaid on the reiterated and strong solicitations of Cranmcr, 
the King signed tJie warrant, and she Avas Ijurnt on the 2d 
of Ma}^, 1550. " Bishop Scory preaching at her burning.*** 
" On the Gth of April, 1551, George Yan Pare, a Dutch- 
man, -was condemned in the same manner that Joan of Kent 
was, and on the 25tli of April, was burnt at Smithfield. 
His accusation was for maintaining. That God the Father 
was only God, and that Christ was not very God. He was 
dealt with long to abjure, but v> ould not. One thing Avas 
certain," adds the candid Burnet, " That what Cranmcr did 
in this matter flowed from no cruelty in him ; no man being 
further from that black disposition of mind; hut it ivas trulij 
the effect of those principles by which he governed Iiimsel/?' 
To this every ingenuous mind assents, and finds a pleasure 
in tracing the Primate's conduct up to a cause, adequate to 
the effect, without resorting to cruelty of disposition, or nia^ 
lignancy of heart. 

The question is now put to IMr. Roscoe, Whether ihe 
English annals of persecution, of prior date by three years, 
do not furnish instances in Joan of Kent and George l^an 
Parcy " of more bigotry and cruelty", than the case of Servc- 
tus ? Let the words on which the accusation, against that 
man or that woman, Avas founded, be compared Avith the 
thirty-eight propositions, selected from Servetus' A\'ritings. 
Compare too the circumstances of the proceedings of the ec- 
clesiastical court of Commissioners, Avho Averc to enquire af- 
ter delinquents, and the secular judicatory, sentencing upon 
the then vague principles of common law in England, Avith 
those of the Syndirks and Senate of Gciic\^a^, guided by 

l^i LIFE OF CALVIN. 155^ 

the statute laws of that Republick. And were there any 
records to be relied on, detailing the manner of execution, 
no doubt but tliat both at Smithfield and the Champel, 
the spectacle would be equally painful. While it is free- 
ly granted that, under the habits of those times, Cranmer 
acted Avlth the strictest integrity, see this venerable Arch- 
bishop pleading at successive times before young Edward, 
v>ith all his eloquence and arguments, to induce him to 
sign the warrant for burning Joan of Kent ; and the King- 
yielding at last, <' nith tears in his cyesy saying to Cran- 
mer, that if he did wrong, since it was in submission to his 
authority^ he should answer for it to God,^^^ 

Mr. Roscoe may now be requested for a moment to 
observe Calvin, entering the Senate of Geneva, after their 
sentence i;pon Servetus, grounded on the decision of the 
four Swiss Churches, and pleading before that body, that 
the punishment of Servetus might be mitigated and rendered 
less severe — T/ial the sentence of burning might be commu- 
ted for some punishment less ignominious .f 

* Bishop Buniet's Hist. Reform, p. 106. — Burnet says " that people had 
believed tliat all the statutes for burning hereticks had been repealed. But 
now it was found, that repealing the statutes did not take away that which 
was grounded on a vrit at common /aw." 

f Pceme vero atrocitutem retnittere cupio. — Gemtt mortis conati sumus 
nmiare, sed frmtra.^Bipisi. ad Farellum, Aug. 20, et Oct. 26, 1553. Some 
Avlio labour to fix upon Calvin every tiling which the Senate did, assert tliat 
his influence was powerful with that body. The Syndicks and Senate of 
Ciencva were annually elected. In 1553, Perrin was one of the SjTidicks, 
and Hertelier, who is said by Beza to have excited Servetus personally to 
abuse Calvin when before the Senate as a witness, was clerk of the lower 
C:ourt, and had been about six months before the trial of Servetus excom- 
municated. The majority of the Senate at this very time were under the 
influence of the Perrin and Bcrtelier faction, as will abundantly appear in 
the subsequent details of their proceedings, in August and September of 
iliis year, when they voted, in the face of Calvin and the Consistory, that 
Bcrtelier should be admitted to the Lord's Supper. It may be asked where, 
^nd in what respect, Calvin had any influence over the Senate that condem- 

1553 LIFE OF CALVIN. 135 

Here is no deception, Mr. Roscoe. Calvin did in fact in- 
tercede for his bitterest enemy. A historian must abide by 
facts, whatever may be the hostility of his prejudices 
against their tendency and eiiect. There is no wish obtru- 
sively to ^\'ound your reputation as an autlior, or your feel- 
ings as a man. But have you not been uninformed on this 
subject, and misguided by unwary prejudice ; or prompted 
perhaps by opposition to tlie sentiments of Calvinists, to make 
bold and unauthorized, nay even most disingenuous assertions 
concerning the Reformer of Geneva ? If Cranmer, as Burnet 
says, and can his declaration be disproved on the w hole, " nas 
a pattern of humility^ meekness and charity,^'' ^ — how amiable 
in these respects, and how dignified in the above comparison, 
must be the character of Calvin ? 

Compare moreover the dates of the burnings in England 
with the single one in Geneva, and if you. Sir, still abide by 
your assertion, that the first fruits of the Reformation were 
persecution and burning for heresy, or the exercise of pri- 
vate judgment, it may at least be expected, that you w ill 
honourably declare, that they vere gathered at Smithfdd 
in England, three years before they were reaped on the 
Champel of Geneva. 

In taking leave of the note of the learned and elegant his- 
torian of the Pontificate of Leo, it would be i)leasant to be 
liberated from those mortifying investigations, which bring 
into view evidences of the Aveakness of man. But the duty 
becomes imperious, so far forth, as to prove, that persecu- 
tion for opinion's sake w^as so strongly supported by the habits 
of the 16th century, that even a minor sect, accounted heret- 

ued Servetus ? It must be admitted, that the Senate, who refused, at Cal- 
vin's request, to mitigate and change the punislimcnt of Servetus, were un- 
der the control of Perrin, and not of Calvin. 

* Hist. Reform. Vol. 3, p. 250. 

126 LIFE OF CALYIN, 1553 

ical l)y all others, and who Ijitterly inveighed against civil 
restraints on private judgment, when themselves were expos- 
ed, were nevertheless equally prompt to use the coercive 
power of the JMagistracy, when they could command its di- 
rection to the punishment of those, whose opinions they con- 
ddered as injurious to the promotion of their own scheme. 

The followers of Faustus Socimis have long indulged, with 
an imposing confidence, and an assiduity of repetition, a spi- 
rit of calumny, which has been doubtless successful in pre- 
judicing some minds against the name and writings of Calvin. 
It is however a fact, that Faustus Socinus, the man who gives 
the name to the sect of Sodnians, was himself a persecutor. 
Not of one, indeed, who in his estimation blasphemed the 
triune Godhead, and reviled, with unparalleled impiety, the 
gcriptures, and every doctrine of the scriptures ; but of Fran- 
cis David, superintend ant of the Unitarian Churches in Tran- 
sylvania. " David opposed Socimis in the notion of giving 
worship to Jesus Christ." Both Socinus and David profes- 
sed to hold that Jesus Christ was a mere man. David urged, 
that it Avas as unlawful to pray to him as to the Virgin Ma- 
ry, or any of the Popish Saints. Of course David, in refu- 
sing to give divine worship to Christ, acted consistently with 
his own avowed principles. Socinus supposed, that to avow 
this openly would expose their sect to odium, and prevent its 
progress. Socinus was hypocritical, and made it a mere 
question of expediency ; while David made it a question of 
conscience; and persisting to teach his opinion freely, he 
was persecuted, by Socinus and his associates, and thrown in- 
to prison, by order of the Prince, Battori, " where he lan- 
guished for six years until his death, which happened Nov. 
15, loTO." Socinus was the contriver of his imprisonment, 
wliich v/as the occasion of his death. This should silence 
the Socinians in their reproaches against Calvin ; " when," 
d^s Xjt Cferk says, « nothing can be said against that Reformer 


which wiJl not bear as hard upon their o^n Patriarch,''^ So- 

With propriety then the Socinians may be requested to 
direct their attention, and bestow their sympathy, upon a 
conscientious brother who died in prison, a lingering death, 
under the oppressive and persecuting influence of tlie fatlier 
of his sect. The candid mind will call into exercise the 
feelings of compassion ; and be thankful for tlie superior 
light now enjoyed on the subject of persecution for the sako 
of opinions. The spirit of CJu'islianity will lead her dirci- 
ples to mourn the depravity of human nature, as the source 
of errour, and the origin of civil punishments for private 
sentiments. Let the Socinian beware, lest from the virulent 
reproaches which he may cast upon others, he should give 
just occasion for the observation, that under the restraints 
of the nineteenth century, the form of persecution is chang- 
ed, while the spirit of it remains, and would be ready to ex- 
press itself under given circumstances, with the same exter- 
minating intemperance as in other times. Indeed, it must 
be admitted, that no man, who knows his own heart, and 
has candour enough to avow its propensities, will say that 
Trajan, or Pliny, or Innocent III.,t or Socinus, or Cranraer, 
or Calvin, and a host of other learned men, were either na- 
turally or habitually mclined, with any peculiar malice, to 
pursue and destroy others merely for their opinions. 

For more than fifty years after the death of Calvin, no itjr 
stance could be found of any respectable Avriter, who censur- 
ed him respecting the execution of Servetus. On the pub- 
lication of Calvin's Epistles by Theodore Beza, in 15 75, Jo 

* Dupin Eccles. Hist. 16th cqnt b. 4, p. 417. Rees' Cyclopced. Art- 
Fran. David. New Biog. UiGlion. Art. Socinus. Mosh. Eccles. Hist. vol. 4, 
p. 200, note. Fuller's Letters, Cal. and Socln. compared, p. 145. 

t Innocent III. This Pope is said to have first inU'oduced the punlsli* 
mentof heretlcks by burning-, in the begmningof the 13ih cenlur}-.. 

128 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1553 

rome Bolseck took offence at the account which had been 
given of his conduct and opinions in some of those letters* 
Bolseck, at that time having turned l^ack to the Papists, 
wrote a Hfe of Calvin for the sole purpose of blasting his 
name. But however destitute of principle, and prompted 
by revenge to invent the most daring falsehoods, he no 
where, it is asserted, accused Calvin of personal hatred to- 
wards Servetus, or cast any blame upon him for what he 
did in advising the prosecution against him. 

MaIiMbourg, a Jesuit, wrote a history of Calvinism, in 
which, with all his Popish partialities and misrepresentations, 
he says nothing on that subject. 

Dupix, another Papist, in his Ecclesiastical History, does 
not even name Servetus in his life of Calvin, and but barely 
mentions him among the Socinian hereticks. 

Bayle, who was of no religious denomination, in his life 
of Calvin, does not even name Servetus, nor cast any re- 
proach upon that Reformer in his voluminous notes. Few 
biographical writers have indulged more boldness of observa- 
tion upon characters than Bayle ; and perhaps no one man 
has been so extensively acquainted as he was with the events 
of the Reformation, and the characters of those distinguish- 
ed men who were active in promoting it. It was not ig- 
norance, but a thorough knowledge of the facts, which must 
have induced this writer to pass in silence a subject "vvliich, 
within a century past, has been brought forward, with so 
much animosity, to discredit the name and writings of 

The judicious Hooker,# when labouring with no indiffer- 
ent zeal to confute the ecclesiastical polity of Geneva, saysj, 
" A founder it had, for my own part, I think incomparably 
the Avisest man that ever the French Chui'ch did enjoy, 

* Hooker was born before Calvin's de^tU, and dkd in 1600, being cotem- 
poravy with Bcza. 



since the hour it enjoyed him. His bringing up was in IJie 
study of the civil law. Divine knowledge he gathered not 
by hearing and reading so much as by teaching others. 
For though thousands were debtors to him, as touching kno^^- 
ledge in that kind, yet he to none but only to God, the au- 
thor of that most blessed fountain, the book of life, and of the 
admirable dexterity of wit, togetlicr with, the helps of oilier 
learning, which were his guides; till being occasioned to 
leave France, he fell at lenglh upon Geneva." Hooker's 

Eccles. Polity, Preface, p. 62. « We should be injuria 

ous unto virtue itself, if we did derogate from them whom 
their industry hath made great. Two things of principal 
moment there are, which have deservedly procured him ho- 
nour throughout the world : The one, his exceeding pains in 
composing T/ie Institutions of the Christian religion ; the oth- 
er, his no less industrious travels for the exposition of holy 
scripture according to the same Institutions. In wliich t^vo 
things, whoever they were that after him bestowed their la- 
bour, he gained the advantage of prejudice against them, 
if they gainsayed ; and of glory above them, if they consent' 
ed. Of what account the master of the Sentences," Peter 
Lombard, " was in the Church of Rome, the same and more, 
amongst the preachers of the Reformed Churches, Calvin had 
purchased : so that the perfectest Divines were judged they, 
which were skilf ulest in Calvin's writings ; his books ^vere al- 
most the very canon to judge both doctrine and discipline 
by. The French Churches were all cast according to that 
mould which Calvin had made. The Church of Scotland, 
in erecting the fabrick of their Reformation, took the seJl' 

same pattern." Hooker's Preface, Eccl. Pol. p. 65 and GO. 

" The pious and excellent Bishop Hall solemnly pro- 
nounced, that in that transaction, relative to Servetus, Cal- 
vin did well approve himself to God's Church." See his 

Christian Moderation, b. 2, Sect. U, quoted iu Dr. Alillcr'.s 


130 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1553 

Contiii. of Lett. p. S27, Heylin, although strongly attach- 
ed to Episcopacy, and to Archbishop Laud, in his history of 
the Presbyterians, says much, ^vith his usual unauthorised 
asperity, against Calvin ; yet he never reproaches him as to 
the matter of Servetus, whom he only names as a Socinian. 

Bishop Burnet, in his history of the Reformation of the 
English Church, has passed in silence the story of Servetus, 
and always named Calvin with respect. 

Without increasing this list with the names of Francis Ju- 
nius, James Arminius, Davila, Strypc, and a vast number of 
other historians and Divines of different theological senti- 
ments, it may be asked. On what principle it was, that those 
writers passed with approbation, or without notice, such 
atrocious cruelty and personal malevolence in Calvin, as Mr. 
Roscoe and others, within a century back, have boldly charg- 
ed upon him in the affair of Servetus ? Were the Divines 
and historians at the close of the 16th, and through the 
I /th century, more ignorant of the facts and circumstances 
which attended that business than those Divines or histori- 
ans who, in the 18th century, have so pointedly selected, 
and so invidiously impugned Calvin, as pre-eminently pos- 
sessing, and furiously exercising the spirit of persecution for 
the sake of opinions ?# This it is presumed will not be as- 
serted by any one competent to judge of that question. 

* That Divines and historians, who are members of the Church of Eng- 
land, should reproach Calvin, about burning Servetus, even if the fact 
were so, is strange, when without reverting back to the burning of Lambert 
and Askew, in the reign of Henry VIII. — to Van Pare and Joan of Kent, in 
that of Edward VI. — or of the two Anabaptists in that of Elizabeth ; 
tliey may read, as late as 1612, under James I. of tlie burning of Le- 
gate and Wightman for the Arian heresy. And if tliey follow down 
the details of their history, during the reign of Charles I. and Arch- 
bishop Laud, and read the petition of Alexander Leighton, or his sen- 
tence and punishment, they will find causes enough for the cliills of 
grief, and tears of sympathy, from persecutions not only for heresy^ but 
for no7i-covformitij to the Common Prayer Book of the Episcopal Church. 

^^53 LIFE OF CALVIN. 131 

Tlie rise of the prejudices against Calvin, and Lis wrifin?= 
niay be found in tlie controversies which originated l,e' 
tween those ivho were professedly tlie follo^ve^s of that Di- 
vine on the one hand, and of James Arminius, on the other. 

Iheodore Beza supposed, like many others who call them- 
selves Calvinists, that he could explain some things on the 
subject of predestination and election, w ith more precision 
and perspicuity tlian Calvin had done. In this instance 
Beza acted regardless of the following advice vliich he says' 
Calvm gave him on his first entrance upon theological studies : 
" Take care that you do not entangle and ensnare yourself in 
vani subtilties; and when any new notions arise in your 
nnnd, however they may please and flatter you at first, yet 
do not give yourself up to them, till you have thoroughly 
weighed and sifted them. In a word, moderate and re- 

stram the vivacity and over forwardness of your genius 

I have endeavoured all along to follow this advice, which ^>■as 
given me, by that great man of blessed memory, Johv C.l- 
vw, when I first gave myself up to the sacred studies."* 

William Perkins of Cambridge published, in 1590, his Jr. 
nulla Aurea, fkc. in which he digested the sentiments of Be- 
za on that mysterious subject, into a more logical and pal- 
pabe format Francis Gomarus, who was appointed 
Professor of Divinity at Leyden in 1.594. supported the sys- 
tern of Mr. Perkins without opposition till ICO.3, when Ar- 
mmius was appointed his colleague in the Professorship of 

by*Bayle: "'""' '''"'"""™ '''"'"""' '" "'" ^"■*" '"''■"■ - iuote.1 

t Calvin had stated, that the damnation of the reprobate s|,ra„. f.-on, their 

own corrupfon of ,.ture. Be.a and Perkins rested it 'on t,fe delw 

God, &c ^Bayle, Art. Arm. Beza, in volumine primo t.actatlon.vm thco 

ZZT: T"' "" P-destinatione, p. 337. Perkins.-T,- ; « 
Auea Ed.t. Basd,., 1598, p. 15, et passim. Acta Synodi Dordrcchti e 
S n^ent,a Bemonstrantium, vol. 1 et 2. Ihid. U= e,e,Lne e, r p o^H 

132 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1553 

tliat University. The successive disputes between these t^vo 
learned divines drew out the peculiar sentiment of Arminius. 
In 1G08, and the following year, Gomarus and Arminius dis- 
puted public kly before the Assembly of the States of Hol- 
land. The last disputation was broken oif by the sickness of 
Arminius, v» ho died October • 19, 1609. He however left 
followers who, in strenuously supporting- his opinions, and 
ultimately refining upon them, to obviate objections, have as 
much e;s:ceeded what he had defended, as Perkins and oth- 
ers since have ventured beyond the scriptural limits which 
Calvin had established on those mysterious points. The 
£^/^a5 /K-sjAov, the apple of discord, was thrown among the lead- 
ers of the controversy, and their heat and animosity were 
increased till the meeting of the Synod of Dort, in Novem- 
ber, 1G18, by order of the States of Holland. The contro- 
versy by degrees had grown into a state of faction, and en- 
dangered the peace of the government. Maurice, Prince of 
Orange, from political motives, put himself at the head of 
the Calvinists, and Barnavelt, the advocate of Holland, with 
Hogerbcrts and Grotius, were the leaders who sided with 
the Ai minians. The five points of controversy were decided 
in favour of the Calvinists, and the Arminians were declared 
corrupters of the true religion. The Belgick confession of 
faith \A as established as the religion of Holland. Grotius was 
a Civilian, connected with the grand Pensionary, Barnavelt, 
and A\ as imprisoned by Maurice, as an enemy to the govern- 
ment.* Thus provoked and embittered against the profess- 
ed CaI\inistF, and against the power of the Magistracy in 
matters of religion, Grotius uttered that most ungenerous as- 

" S£G Daylo, Art. Arminius and Gomarus. Mosh. Neal, and Rees' Cy- 
clopaedia, Art. Dort. And especially the Acta Synodi Dort. vol 1 and 2,— 
for an accountj of the Airminian controversy. 

1553 LIFE OF CALVIN. 133 

pcrsion against Calvin, Served exustorr^ Francis Turretin 
animadverts upon tiiis expression of Grotiu?, and declares it 
to be a hold calumny against the truth of histor?/, ^^ It is 
evident,^'* says he, " that Calvin^ with his colleague Pastors^ 
dissuaded from the burning of Scrvetus : but ncitlicr the 
laws, nor the Blagistratcs would allow him to be treated 
more mildly on account of his horrid blasphemies." 

Turretin, one of the most learned, modest and pious men 
of any age, was introduced, 1653, as Professor of Theology 
into the same chair which Calvin first held at Geneva. In 
his Institidio Theologicce Elenchticce, he discusses the ques- 
tion, Whether hereticks are to be punished by the civil Ma- 
gistracy ? In this discussion he introduces the case of Scr- 
vetus, and defends the justice of his sentence, on the ground 
of the complicated and enormous heresy, which he had pro- 
pagated for more than twenty years, Avith great virulence 
and obstinacy, against all the means used to reclaim him.f 

It was subsequent to the Synod of Dort, that the writings 
of Calvin were first attacked with bitterness in England. It 
was when, under Charles I., William Laud " heccime prime 
Minister in all affairs both of Church and State" : — It was 
when, as Bishop Hall says, " It gileved my soul to see our 
own Church begin to sicken with the same discase,^^ Armi- 

* Grotii Opera, vol. 4, p. 503. The petulance of this learned Civilian at 
this time is evinced, not only by his abusively calling Calvin the bnm- 
er of Scrvetus, but also by his calling- Monsieur de la Fontaine, who accus- 
ed Servctus, Calviti's cook. Fontaine at least had so much learning as to 
manage the accusations against Servetus before the Senate of Geneva, the 
first two days of the trial. On the third day, September 16, Germain Colla- 
don assisted him. The confinement of Grotius, and the execution of Bar- 
iiavelt, may be pleaded in excuse for his low and undignified reproach of 
Calvin, but can never free liim from the charge of Turretin — That he utter- 
ed a bold calumny against the truth of history. 

t Francis Turretin's Works, vol. 3, p. 374, loc. 18, quest. 34. 


iiiauism, " which we had endeavoured to cure in our neigh- 
bours"; the Church of Holland.* 

The itiflnrnce of the Primate, Laud, brought forward, in 
the Arminians, new and resolute auxiliaries to the aid of 
the Papists and Socinians, in their propulsive hostility against 
Calvinism. Every vagrant from the genuine Institutes of 
Calvin, who still called himself a Calvinist, furnished fresh 
materials for his impugners, by which they imposed on the 
publick mind, as the lessons of that Divine, feverish dogmas, 
Avhich he absolutely denied and rejected. The two words, 
horribilc decretunij-f have been forced from their relative 
positions, and rung through all the changes of rej)roachfuI 
terms in the English language, by such writers as Daubeny, 
tlie Bishop of Lincoln, and even Dr. Hobart, apparently for the 
illiberal purpose of prejudicing the publick sentiment against 
the name and the writings of Calvin. Regardless of the advice 
of Bishop Horsely, " take special care, before you aim your 
shafts at Calvinism, that you knoAV what is Calvinism,and what 
is not," the enemies of Calvin have been so abusive in their 
misrepresentations and misquotations, that they sometimes, 
to avoid personal disgrace, have unmanfully sheltered them- 
selves under fictitious names. But it is not to be expected, 

* Some specialities of the life of Joseph Ball, Bishop of JK'orivich, written by 
himself, prefixed to the 3d volume of his works, quoted from Miller's Con« 
tin. of Letters, p. 334. 

•J- The candid perusal of tlie 23d chapter of the 3d book of Calvin's Insti- 
tutes, in which the words horribile decretum are found, will, it is presumed, 
convince any uprijjht mind, tliat Calvin has wisely avoided the double lahy- 
rinth on the subject of Reprobation, precisely as tlie Apostle Paul does, 
llom. ix. 20. J\''ay but, O inan, ivho art thou that repliest against God? Cal- 
vin maintains, tliat Adam fell by his Own fault ; — that the damnation of the 
reprobate springs from their own corruption of nature ; — that their perdi- 
tion no othenvise depends upon the predestination of God, than that the 
cause and tlie matter of it are found in themselves ; — that Adam fell be- 
cause God judg'ed it expedient, — why he judged it expedient, is hidden 
from us. Instit. Cal. lib, 3, ch. 23, in sec. 7, 8. 

i^ LIFE OF CALVi^f. 13^ 

that arguments will wrest from such men opinions adopted 
from prejudice, interest or passion. And after all that has 
beeti or can be written, the virulent and habitual opposers 
of Calvin must be left to tlie dominant influence of their 
own prepossessions, without the hope of their even reading 
his works with candour. 

It was, however, the peculiar honour of Calvin, while he 
lived, that, although unprincipled and heretical men w ere 
his opposers, yet every pious, learned and eminent Reformer 
was his friend. The good and the great of every coun- 
try looked up to him, with respect and esteem. His ene- 
mies have yet to name the individual, among all the re- 
putable Reformers, with whom Calvin had any unfriendly 
controversy, or any one who did not respect him during his 
whole life. The integrity, the peaceableness and stability 
of Calvin may be put beyond controversy, by a correct an- 
swer to these questions of fact — JV/io were the enemies ? — 
Who mere the friends of Calvin while he lived ? 

It is readily admitted, that the Papists hated him. At 
Noyon, a report that he was dead being circulated, in con- 
sequence of an illness with which he was seized in divine ser- 
vice, they decreed a publick procession, and returned thanks 
in their Churches to Almighty God for his death. The 
next year, 1552, their city was destroyed by fire, and Cal- 
vin writes to Farel, " I have no doubt but you have heard, 
that I survive my native place : So that I am obliged now 
to mourn the destruction of that city which, the last year, 
celebrated a publick procession and thanksgiving on account 
of a false report of my death." ^' 

In the Bull of Pope Pius V., deposing and excommunicat- 
ing Queen Elizaljeth, dated 1509, Calvin's Institutes are no- 
ticed with special attentioir. " Libros manifestam ha^rcsim 

* See ]t«i Epist. Calvlni ad FaTellum, cUt. Dccei-nbcr 2, 1550. 

136 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1553 

continentes, toto regno proponi, impia mysteria, et Instituta 
ad Calvini prasscriptum a se suscepta, et observata, etiam a 
SLibditis servari iiiandavit."# " She has commanded books 
containing manifest heresy to be published through her whole 
kingdom ; the impious mysteries and Institutes according to 
Calvin are received and observed by herself and even enjoin- 
ed upon all her subjects to be obeyed.'''* 

The Papists, iu their annual legends, still remember Cal- 
vin. A gentleman of respectability stated to the writer of 
this Life, that being at Strasburg in in ir89, he attended 
one of those weekly lectures, in a Roman Catholic Church, 
at which their most popular Preachers officiate, and 
appropriately discourse against the hereticks who have im- 
bibed the opinions of Calvin. The Preacher, in the course 
of his sermon, related in a terriiick manner the torments 
which Calvin's soul endured in purgatory, for renouncing 
and opposing the mother Church : — That no person dared 
to approach his grave, on account of the dismal groans 
and horrid shrieks which proceed from it. The Preacher, 
moreover, to leave no doubts on the minds of the ignorant 
mnltitude, declared, that he himself had heard the fright- 
ial outcries of the tormented soul of that heretick. The 
gentleman, who witnessed the relation of these things at 
Strasburg, had resided some time at Geneva, without hav- 
ing heard that any of those marvellous circumstances attend 
the unknoim spot where Calvin was buried. 

The Papists still dread the infiuence of his writings, espe- 
cially the temperate and distinct light in which the truth is 
presented in his Institutes. Bayle states, from Schultingius, 
^^ That as soon as this work of Calvin was published at 
Strasburg, about the year 1545, Bernard Cincius, Bishop of 
Aquila, carried a copy of it to Cardinal IMarcellus Cervin, 

» BnrTTet's Hist. Reform.- vol. 2, p. rAY, Collect. 

^^53 LIFE OF CALVIN. 137 

Legate of the Pope at the court of the Emperour ; and that 
these two able men judged it to be a more dangerous Wk 
than all the other writings of the Lutherans^ Schultingius 
was a Papist, and Canon of Cologne. He undertook to con^ 
fute the Institutes of Calvin. - This work was consi- 
dered," he says, "as the principal fortress of the Protes- 
tants." He proceeds to give an account of the numerous 
editions through which it had passed ; besides its aln-idge- 
ments and translations into different languages. He says, 
that in England they almost gave Calvin's Institutes the' 
preference to the Bible; that the Bishops ordered all the 
ministers, ut pene ad vcrbum has educantr-^hat they should 
learn them almost to a word;-^w^d, vt turn AngUce exactissi^ 
me versi in singulis Ecclesiis a parochis legencli appendantur, 
—that being most exactly turned into English, they should be 
kept in all the Churches for publick W6:^;#~that they were 
also studied in both the Universities ;— that in Scotland the 
young students in Divinity began by reading these Insti- 
tutes ;— that at Heidelburg, Geneva, Herborne, and in all 
the Calvinistical Universities, these Institutes were publickly 
taught by the Professors ;-~that in Holland, Ministers, Civi- 
hans and the common people studied this work with great 
diligence, even the coachman and the sailor noctuma verset 
maim, versetque diurna ;^ih^i esteeming it as a pearl of 
great price, they had it bound and gilt in the most elegant 
manner. This work, Schultingius asserts, was appealed to 
as a standard, on all theological questions. Such is the ac- 
count given of the authority of Calvin's Institutes by a pro- 
fessed Papist, who lifted up his mighty arm to destroy tiu's 

* "^^h^^^s Norton, a Barrister who, after Sternhold's death, assisted Hop- 
kms Wdham Whittingham and others, in completing the first version oftlie 
fsalms into Enghsh, which was done at Geneva, and published at the end 
of the Geneva Bible, 1560, translated the Institutes of Calvin, perhaps about 
1575. Norton s translation is quite literal, but the stvle is now anti.n,a*cd 



principal fortress of the Protestants, in four large folio vo- 
lumes, published at Cologne, in the year 1602.# 

The animosity enkindled by the Arminian controversy, 
supported by the half Papist and persecuting Archbishop 
Laud, changed the state of things in respect to the authority 
of Calvin's Institutes in England. Francis Cheynell, in his 
Sermon to the Commons, I\Iarch 25, 1646, p. 42, says ; *^ The 
old statutes did recommend Calvin's Institutions to tutors, as 
a fit book to be expounded to their scholars. But that 
good statute -was omitted in the book of new statutes ; be- 
cause there are so many precious truths in Calvin's Institu- 
tions contrarij to the piety of those timesj in which the new 

statutes were enacted. AVe begin to see with one eye, 

and hope that we shall in due time recover the other." 

The learned Poole, in the preface to the first volume of his 
Synopsis, published in 1669, apologises for not naming Cal- 
vin in the catalogue of authorities. Being patronized by ma- 
ny, who were bitter against the sentiments of Calvin, to avoid 
giving oifence, he says, that where he could he had selected 
from other Avriters who had taken from his Commentaries, 
and adorned their works a\ ith his labours ; and that he 
could name many such who aifected to despise Calvin, who 
was yet both their author and master. He adds that the 
works of Calvin are in almost all hands, as well as in the 
ghops of the booksellers ; and he hopes that the friends of 
Calvin will take no exception at the omission, as it is dulciit^ 
€x ipso fonte, sweeter to drink at the fountain, and he 

* See Bayle, Art. Sclmltingius. 

I When Laud was Archbishop of Canterbury.— Laud was charged with 
"Popish inclinations. A lady who had turned Papist, being- asked by the 
Archbishop the cause of her changing her rehgion, tartly replied. My 
Lord, it was because /ever Aaferf a crourf. He requested her to explain. / 
perceived, said she, that your Lordship and many others -were making for 
Rome tvith all speed, to prevent st press, I went before you. Bayle. 

1553 LIFE OF CALVIN. 139 

would by no means prevent their possessing the A\'orks of 
Calvin. In Mr. Poole's preface to the third volume, pub- 
lished 1073, which begins with the Prophet Isaiah, he says, 
that he ranks Calvin as an expositor above all his praises ; 
and that in the judgment of all a\ hose minds were exercis- 
ed, and well instructed in sacred things, Calvin, in his most 
accurate and critical Commentaries on the Prophets, had 
joined great learning with great judgment, in explaining He- 
brew words and phrases, as well as in elucidating obscure 
passages. The preceding facts open some light on the pre- 
sent subject, as to the occasion and cause of the opposition 
which has so long prevailed in England against Calvin and 
his writings ; and which has led to many of those unchris- 
tian and disingenuous misrepresentations which were design 
ed to blast the one, and suppress the influence of the other. 
The unhallowed aspersions, which have l^een circulated by 
the dominant class of Arminians i7i that cowitry respecting 
Calvin, have been with some persons in this, of bigoted and 
feverish minds, a sufficient argument for reproaching him, 
and all those who are denominated from his name, with che- 
rishing an intolerant spirit in matters of religion. 

The inquisitorial mania of Archbishop Laud still so far 
prevails among the Dignitaries of the English Church, as to 
render it somewhat indispensable, on publick occasions, for 
the preacher who would prove his orthodoxy, and secure his 
popularity, to speak directly or indirectly of " the impious 
dogmas of Calvin.'* — And it is a subject of regret, that from 
the fear of the overbearing prejudices of Arminianism, the 
same temporising expedient, which aifected the learned 
Poole in his two first volumes, should operate so powerfully 
as to exclude the name of Calvin from the pious and popular 


Commcfilarics of Dr. Thomas Scott ;# a Divine wlio lias per- 
haps surpassed all others in detailing the definite and legiti- 
mate sentiments of Calvin, on all the great doctrinal points 
of theology. It is unquestionably true, as Poole asserts, that 
many Commentators, who have not had boldness or ingenu- 
ousness enough to acknowledge it, have still lighted their 
lamps at the luminous and evangelical Avritings of the Ge- 
ne vese Theologian. And while the Church of Christ endures, 
the light which Calvin opened from the scriptures will ex- 
tend its ])eams, through one medium or another, to cheer, to 
guide and edify the followers of Christ. The friends and 
defenders of evangelical truth are already clad in the ar- 
mour of God. They are meekly and firmly advancing in 
the defence of the pure doctrines of the Reformation in the 
English Church ; and are labouring, after the example of 
Calvin, above all others, with apostolick zeal, for the unlimit- 
ed circulation of the scriptures in all languages, and the ex- 
tension of the knowledge of them through all nations. The 
progress of truth, even amidst the sound of war, and the deso- 
lations wliicli are in the earth, is accelerated by the union of 
the friends of Zion. The chains of bigotry are dropping from 
the hands of those who have been bound ; and the scales of pre- 
judice are falling from the eyes of many who have been blind, 
^len of the first talents, and most extensive erudition, in that 
communion, have dared temperately to combat the enemies of 
Galvin, to break up their deceptive coverts of attack through 
the medium of false authorities and misrepresentations, and 
to set forth in a clear light the influence which the Divine 

* In justice to Dr. Scott, it must be said, that in his able remarks 
on the Bishop of Lincoln's Refutation of Calvinism, he has more than 
atoned for his former neglect of Calvin ; still it may be observed that 
in Dr. Scott's Notes on the Bible, the name of Calvin might in many 
instances justly hold the plaqes now occupied by the names of [JIam= 
inond, Han, Lowth, AVhilby, and even Beza. 

1553 LIFE OF CALVIN. 141 

of Geneva had with Somerset, Cranmer and King Edward, 
in forwarding the reformation of tlie Liturgy, and infusing 
into the doctrinal articles of lliat Church the pure spirit of 
the Gospel. These faitliful labourers have done much. 
They liave laid the foundation, and cast abroad tlie light, 
which will form a new era in that Cliurcli, the heads of 
which, many of them at least, have since the days of Laud 
been embittered against the name and writings of " the ve- 
nerable Calvin."^ — They have entered upon a work of Re- 
form, which will have extension and enlargement ; and if 
under Providence that Church is to be preserved, they will, 
in all probability, be the instruments. They have even now 
opened the door of hope, that their Israel may arise in puri- 
ty and stability before God. To such men, all the lovers of 
the truth as it is in Jesus will, as Calvin did, extend the 
right hand of fellowship, whatever may be the minor dis- 
tinction of forms, or the subordinate peculiarity of their for- 

A quotation from the Christian Observer shall close this 
part of our subject. 

" Few names stand higher, or in a more deserved pre-emi- 
nence, amongst the wise and pious members of tJie English 
Church, than that of Bishop Andrews. His testimony to 
the memory of Calvin is, that ' he was an illustrious person, 
and never to be mentioned Avithout a preface of the highest 
honour. 't Whoever examines the sermons, writings, &c. 
of our Divines, in the reigns of Elizabeth and James /., 
will continually meet with epithets of honour with wliicU 
his name is mentioned ; the leanied, the nise, the judicious, 
the pious Calvin, are expressions every where to be found in 

* See Bisliop Ilorsely's Charge in 1800, 

t It is an additional argument of the deference paid to his opinions, that 
the Litur^q-r/ underwent an entire alteration. In compliance with the objcc- 
rions which Calvin i-nad<: to It as '/; hrcviovshj g/ofyd. 


the remains of those times. It is well known that his Insti' 

tutes were read and studied in the Universities^ by every stu- 
dent in Divinity, for a consideralile portion of a century ; nay 
that by a convocation held at Oxford, that book was recom- 
mended to the general study of the nation. So far was the 
Church of England, and her chief Divines, from countenanc- 
ing that unbecoming and absurd treatment, ^vith which the 
name of this eminent Protestant is now so frequently disho- 
noured, that it would be no difficult matter to prove, that 
there is not a parallel instance upon record, of any single 
individual being equally and so unequivocally venerated, for 
tlie union of wisdom and piety, both in England, and by a 
large body of the foreign Churches, as John Calvin. No- 
thing but ignorance of the ecclesiastical records of those 
times, or resolute prejudice, could cast a cloak of conceal- 
ment over this fact \ it has been evidenced by the combined 
testimony both of enemies and friends to his system of doc- 
trines. #" 

Some time in April of this year, Bertilier, who held the 
office of clerk in the lower Council, was excommunicated. 
Perrin, who was now one of the Syndicks, his wife and Bal- 
thazar, had each of them also experienced the weight of the 
same censure. All means were used, and all efforts made, 
at this time, to deprive the Consistory of the right to exer- 
cise their authority. The first step which the factious took, 
for effecting their purpose, was to petition the Senate to ab- 
solve Bertilier from the sentence of the Consistory. Calvin, 
in the name of this l^ody, appeared before the Senate, and 

* Christian Observer, vol. 2, p. 142, 143' 

1553 LIFE OF CALVIN. 143 

pointed out, with great plainness, the obligation they were 
under to enforce the ecclesiastical laws. The question was 
of great moment ; and he omitted nothing \vhich might 
lead to a correct decision. lie proved to them, that to yield 
to this request would dissolve the whole compact of dis- 
cipline in that Church. After hearing the reasons on both 
sides, the upper Senate determined that Bcrtilier was justly 
excommunicated. Defeated but not discouraged, he next 
brought the question before the lower Council, that they 
should restore him without consulting the Consistory. The 
point was abruptly carried ; and the Council of two hun- 
dred decreed, that the final sentence of excommunication 
belonged to the Senate, and that they might absolve in all 
cases from the sentence of the Consistory. The Senate pre- 
cipitately granted Bcrtilier a letter of absolution, sanctioned 
with the stal of the Republick. This decree was passed on 
the 31st of August, two days previous to the Sabbath on 
which the Lord's Supper was to be administered. Perrin 
and his faction supposed, that they had involved Calvin in 
a dilemma of no small consequence. They were animated 
with the expectation, that if Calvin refused to comply with 
the mandate of the Senate, in admitting Bcrtilier to the 
Supper, he would be overpowered by the faction ; if he yield- 
ed, the authority of the Consistory would be absolutely de- 
stroyed. Calvin was immediately informed of these transac- 
tions. During the two days previous to the Sabbath, he 
deliberately formed his opinion, and took the stand which he 
believed his duty called him to maintain. In his morn- 
ing sei-mon, before the administration of the Supper, he 
spoke of the wickedness of those who treated the sacred em- 
blems of the body and blood of Christ with contempt ; 
and stretching forth his hand, he said, in a low and solemn 
voice, After the example of Chrysostom, sooner mil I suffer 
death, than permit this hand to adminiMer the- holy thinsrs of 

144 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1553 

the Lord, to those who are lawfully condemned as despisers of 
God. These words had a most poAverful effect upon the 
whole assembly. The factious, who were waiting to enjoy 
their expected triumph, were dismayed ; and Perrin pri- 
vately directed Bertilier not to present himself at the Ta- 
ble. The sacred elements were administered, in the most 
solemn silence, and a peculiar awe pervaded the assembly, as 
if the Deity himself had been in sight. 

In the afternoon, Calvin expounded that distinguished 
passage in the Acts of the Apostles, in which Paul took 
leave of the Church of Ephesus. He called the assembly to 
witness, that he himself would neither oppose the Magistracy, 
nor teach them to do it. He exhorted them with many 
words, that they should persevere in the doctrines which 
they had heard. At length, as if addressing them for the 
last time, he says, Since these things are so, permit me also, 
brethren, to use the words of the Apostle ; I commend you to 
God, and to the word of his grace. This sentence impressed 
the wicked with wonderful force ; the pious were also awa- 
kened to discharge their official duty with more vigilance 
and seriousness. The next day, Calvin, together with his 
colleagues and the Consistory, deliberately petitioned both 
the Senate and lower Council, That as the law ivhich commit- 
ted the power of excommunication to the Consistory, was 
7nade by the people, so the people only should have the pow- 
er of abrogating it. The minds of the Senate were now 
greatly changed. It was determined, that the decree of the 
Council of two hundred should be suspended, and the opi- 
nion of the four Swiss cities obtained concerning the right 
of excommunication as exercised by the Consistory. In the 
mean time, the former laws were to remain in full force. The 
storm was thus rather suspended than dispersed. 

Farel was at Geneva for his health, during the time of some 
of these transactions. In a pubKck discoiu'se, relying on the 

1553 LIFE OF CALVIN. 115 

justice of the cause, on his age and former influence, lie re- 
proved the factious with severity for their vices and sedi- 
tious conduct. They resented his pointed admonitions, and 
after his return to Neufchatel, made their allegations, and 
fixed the day for his trial. An order was obtained from 
the Senate, addressed to the city of Neufchatel, demanding 
his presence at Geneva at the appointed time. Farel came 
accordingly, not however without danger from the violence 
of the disaffected, who declared, that he deserved to be pu- 
nished by being cast into the river Rhone. A young man, of 
a deliberate and determined spirit, admonished Perrin, \\\\o 
was the principal leader in all opposition to religious re- 
straints, to see that Farel, the cojumon father of their citi/, re- 
ceived no injury. Being joined by another young man of 
equal resolution and integrity, they invited all the friends of 
order to assemble in the Senate chamber at the time of his 
trial. Almost the whole city were collected, when the venc- 
rable Farel entered the room. His accusers were astonished 
at the concourse, and became anxious for their personal safe^ 
ty. Farel was heard in his own defence, and acquitted : 
and his abusive enemies, with apparent regret for their 
conduct, sued to him for pardon. 

The following Letters, written in the undisguised lan- 
guage of the most friendly correspondence, will afford 
additional light on the transactions of this tempestuous 

^< Calvin to Viret, wishes health. 

" I would have been silent about our affairs, lest I should 
give you fruitless anxiety ; but apprehending that the va- 
rious reports might be more grievous, I thought it most 
prudent to give you a summary of the .^^tate of things 



here. The participation of the Supper being interdicted^ 
FIX months ago, to Bertilier, he complained to the Senate; 
and we were called before that Comicil on his account. 
'Fhe cause being heard, the Senate declared, that he wae 
;iustly excommunicated. From that time he remained qui- 
et, either through despair or contempt. But now, lest the 
Syndicate of Perrin should be past, he requests the Senate 
to restore him without consulting the Consistory. Being 
again called, I endeavoured to prove to them by many ar- 
guments, that this could not be justly done, according to 
the establislied laws ; and moreover, that it was not right 
to weaken in this way the discipline of the Church. How- 
ever in my absence, and without consulting the Consisto- 
ry, they granted him the privilege of partaking of the 
Lord's Supper. As soon as I was informed of this, I used 
all means in my power, to have the Syndicks call the 
Senate. I omitted nothing that could, in my opinion, tend 
to change their minds. I solemnly declared, that I was 
determined rather to suffer death, than thus basely pro- 
fane the holy Supper of the Lord: as nothing could be 
more pernicious than that he, who had impudently deri- 
ded and insulted the Church of God, should raise the 
standard of rebellion, and excite the vilest persons, and all 
who resembled him, to the same insolence and obstinacy. 
It was answered, that the Senate changed nothing in their 
former decree. Hence you Avill perceive, that I hold the 
ministry on this condition, that I must suffer the autho- 
rity of the Consistory to be trodden under foot, and offer 
the Supper of the Lord to those who manifestly despise 
it, and who boast, that they regard not his IMinisters. I 
would suffer a hundred deaths, rather than expose Christ 
to such contempt and insult. I shall not mention what I 
said in my two discourses yesterday, as it will be told by 
many. Now let these wicked and abandoned men have 


what they have long desired. The calamity of the Church 
forely afflicts me as it ought. But if God grants so much 
to hcentious adversaries, that the h'berty of my ministry 
is destroyed by their violent commands, I Iiave discharg- 
ed the duties of my station. He who has inflicted the 
wound will provide the remedy. And indeed, since so 
great impunity of wickedness has been increasing now for 
many years, the Lord, perhaps, is preparing some judg- 
ment, the infliction of wliich I am unwortliy to behold. 
On the whole, Avhatever may happen, it is our duty to 
be in subjection to his will. Fare^vell, beloved brother. 
May the Lord be always with you, govern and protect 
you. In return, pray that he may support this unhappy 
Church. Geneva, Sept. 4, 1553.'* 

Rodolphus Gualter, a colleague of Bullinger at Zurich, 
returning from Geneva, gave him an account of the faction 
and proceedings of Perrln and Bertilier. In a letter, da- 
ted Sept. 14, BcTLLiNGER writcs to Calvix : — " My dear 
brother, I received your letter, and the information I de- 
rived from Gualter has rendered me extremely anxious. 
Do not retire, I beseech you, from that Church, which 
has so many excellent men. You should call to mind 
that passage in the Acts of the Apostles, Fear noty for 1 
have much people in this city. And although the wicked 
and polluted are more numerous than we wish they \\ere, 
yet many things arc to be borne for the sake of the elect. 
Besides you are not ignorant how all those would leap 
for joy, who hate the true Gospel in France ; and the ex- 
treme danger to which you would expose the French ex- 
iles, if you should depart from Geneva. Stay therefore, 
stay and bear whatever reproaches, contempt, dangers and 
sufferings the J^ord shall please to luring upoji you. The 

148 LIFE OF CALVIN. 155^ 

Lord will not forsake you. Through manifold tribulations 
7ve must enter the kingdom of God,"*^ 

" Calvin to Bullincer, wishes health. 

" Respected brother, — I perceive by your letter, that you 
do not apprehend the extent of those evils, of w hich I com- 
plained to you. As the wicked know that I am constitution- 
ally irrital^le, they have often, by various methods, endea- 
voured to move m.y indignation, and to shake my patience. 
But although I have had severe and difficult trials, yet they 
have in no instance obtained what they eagerly sought, that 
I should turn aside from the path of duty. I have long 
since been inured to all their stings. For the Lord has so 
exercised me, within a short time, among this people, that I 
have learned by much experience, how many things are to 
be borne by the IMinisters of Christ, I hope the same Provi- 
dence, which has hitherto sustained me, will insphe me with 
no less fortitude, through whatever trials he may lead me 
in future. Under his protection, and relying on his support, 
I will never willingly desert the station in which he has pla- 
ced me. Nor indeed, when Mr. Gualter was lately here, 
was I so borne down with reproaches and indignities, as to 
Tiave prepared myself to leave this place. But the wicked 
even then were entering upon measures, by which they de- 
signed to thrust me away, however unAvilling. 

" A certain person was deprived of the privilege of partak- 
ing of the Lord's Supper, until he should repent. Despising 
the judgment of the Church, he was determined, notA\ ith- 
standing the sentence, to be admitted. And in order to 
overthrow entirely, by his obstinacy, the power of the Con- 
i?istory, lie had obtained from the lower Senate, what I was 
bound to refuse him. But knowing him to be a brazen fa- 
red man, and that the wicked had set him up against rae. 

1553 LIFE OF CALVIN. 149 

either to overpower me by Ids impudence, or to excite a tu- 
mult, I informed the Senate what I should do. But the 
baser faction prevailed, and I could obtain nothing just from 
that body. On the following day, (the Sabbath, Sept. 3,) our 
brother Gualter being present, I declared, that I ^vould 
sooner suffer death, than prostitute the sacred bread of the 
Lord to an excommunicated person, whose express intention 
it was grossly to make a mockery of the Gospel, and to tread 
under foot the discipline of the Church. What I said in 
the afternoon, I wish you to read in the sermon itself, which 
our friend Beza translated into Latin. Do not suppose, 
that any thing has been changed ; I have not inspected it. 
It was written by a Notary from my mouth as I delivered 
it. The affair was afterwards discussed in the Senate, and 
the good cause prevailed. The seditious have ceased, for a 
little while, to disturb that order of things which they desire 
to destroy. This pause, however, is only to take a more con- 
venient opportunity to set every thing in commotion. But 
the day of the annual election is at hand, when they will 
doubtless attempt something. The Lord grant that their 
perverse counsels may be dissipated. The discipline ^vhich 
has been received in this Church, by the decree of the Sen- 
ate and the people, I will certainly sooner sanction with my 
blood than suffer it to be destroyed before my eyes. If 
they hold me back from the duties of my office, I v/ili sooner 
be compelled to depart, than give up my liberty, the loss of 
Avhich would be the ruin of my ministry. Still I am by no 
means so hardened, but that I am most painfully exorcised 
about the dissipation of this flock, which I foresee would I)e 
the consequence. But while I am examining what is lawful 
for me to do, I am confirmed in my purpose. Proceed, my 
brother, as you have done, to assist us by your j)raycrs, that 
Christ may preserve to hiuTself this fold. 


" It is no^v the eighth day since the messenger returned 
from your Church. I am unable to express how much this 
Church is indebted for your faithful labours and discreet 
answer ; and for speaking so affectionately and honourably of 
mc and my Colleagues, and in commendation of our doctrines. 
AVe acknowledge ourselves individually under obhgation to 
you and give you no common thanks. We should be pleased 
V, ith an opportunity to contend A\ith you in kind offices, but 
we know that you are satisfied with our disposition to do it. 
What will be done concerning the man, is not yet known. 
But as far as I am able to conjecture, he will be carried to 
the bar of the Senate to-morrow, and led to punishment the 
day after. Affairs in France continue in the same unhappy 
situation. Wherever there are objects of their violence, the y 
do not spare their lives. At Dijon three will shortly be 
burnt, unless it has already been done. There is danger al- 
so, lest the commotions in Scotland should awaken the spirit 
of persecution. I mention this, that you may remember our 
unhappy brethren. At Nismes, it is reported, that there are 
seven or eight held in chains. There are also many in other 
cities of France. Farewell, most excellent man and beloved 
brother. Salute your fellow Ministers, your wife, sons in 
law and children. May the Lord be always with you, 
protect and guide you by his spirit. IMy colleagues salute 
you respectfully. Geneva, Oct. 26, 1553." 

AVhen Perrin and his party found that the Senate, upon 
more mature deliberation, would confirm the rights of the 
Consistory, they requested to have the question referred to 
the different Senates of Zurich, Bern, Schaffhausen and Ba- 
sil. The Churches in these cities had not within themselves 
the power of excomnumication. Delmquents in extreme cases 
were punished by the civil Magistrate. The following ex- 
tract from Calvin's letter, with tlie articles of discipline in 


the Genevese Church, about which so much contention had 
I)een excited, will aiTord some light on tliis ecclesiastical 

" Calvix to the of Zup.ich. 

" Respected brethren and fellow labourers ; health and 

happiness. For two years past, our condition has been the 

same as though ^^•e lived among the professed enemies of the 
Gospel. The last act is now performing. Tiie enemies of the 
Gospel, having gained many victories, think they are 
about to enjoy a splendid triumph over Christ, his doctrines 
and IMinisters, and finally Jiis whole household. I pass over 
the barbarity, the insult and inhumanity, with which they 
have vexed the exiles, whom they received under their pro- 
tection. The authors of these injuries are themselves witness- 
es, with what modesty, patience and endurance those 
strangers put up with all these indignities, when they had 
an immediate remedy in tlieir own power. The impiety of 
those men has now reached its summit. Having thrown oiT 
all shame, they obstinately desire to convert tlie house of 
worship into a brothel. To exemplify their extreme depra- 
vity : AVhen our brother Farel was here lately, to m hom they 
owe themselves as you well know, he admonished them freely, 
by his own authority ; and their fury was so enkindled, that 
Ihey were not ashamed to endeavour to procure sentence of 
death to be passed upon him. I know it is no new thin<^, 
Ihat in a free city factious men should be found, ^vho stir up 
tumults. But the blindness of our Senate must be deplored, 
who demanded that the father of their liberties, and the 
father of this Oiurch, should be sent to them by the inha- 
bitants of l^eufchatel, as a criminal to be tried for his life, 
I am compelled to say, that tliis was a disgrace to our city, 
a stain which I would gladly wash oif\vilh my blood! 

152 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1553 

Farel came, but before he entered the city, the Clerk of the 
Senate declared at my house that he should not ascend the 
pulpit. I will omit other things ; it is sufficient to have giv- 
en a specimen of this ingratitude, which will excite the in- 
dignation of all good and ingenuous minds. Many reasons 
forbid my deploring more freely the evils which prevail 
here. Take the whole in a word, unless the adversaries are 
restrained by your assistance, the reins will go loose upon the 
neck of their licentiousness. It becomes you to take as dili- 
gent care of us, as though the government of this 
Church was in your own hands. We will not l^e so 
difiicult as to quit our station rather than yield our 
opinion to yours. All pious persons acknowledge, that we 
have hitherto been too complying, in order to avoid tu- 
mults. This, however^ was when we had a full belief, that 
God was trying our patience by the wickedness of those 
men. But this victory must not be yielded to them, unless 
we will consent, knowingly and deliberately, to betray the 
whole authority of the Church into their hands. In that 
case, the ministerial office would go to destruction ; the name 
of Christ would be subjected to the most opprobrious in- 
sults ; the unbridled indulgence of their licentiousness in all 
evils would increase with redoubled outrage ; and the pious 
would not only be obnoxious to all kinds of injuries, but 
Avould be wholly prostrated in affliction and misery. We 
are confident, therefore, that you will take care, and by your 
opinions assist the faithful who are here, that they may be 
liberated from these evils, and permitted to worship God 
with more quietness. 

" Farewell, best and beloved brethren. May the Lord 
be with you, direct you by his Spirit, and afford you pru- 
dence, sufficient not only for watching over your own Church, 
but for the defence of others also. My Colleagues affection- 

J553 LIFE OF CALVm. 153 

ately salute you, and anxiously recommend this Church to 
youi" faithfulness and prudence. 

" Yours, JOHN CALVIN. 

« Geneva, November 26, 1553." 

" The principal heads of the Discipliite of the Chitrch 
OF Geneva. 

« Twelve years are now elapsed since this ord«r of the Con- 
sistory, and the written lawb were established in this city. 
These were passed by the Senate, and received and sanction- 
ed by the suffrages of the Avhole people, as follows : 

I. « If any one shall spread opinions contrary to the doc- 
trines received in this Church, he shall be admonished in a 
friendly and brotherly manner : If he accepts this kindly, it 
shall be passed without any mark of disgrace : If he shall be 
obstinate, or pertinaciously addicted to his errour, he shall 
be seriously admonished, until the Consistory shall judge that 
there is a necessity for greater severity ; and then he shall be 
interdicted the Supper, and referred to the Senate. 

II. « If any shall neglect the sacred assemblies, and it ap- 
pear to be done openly and with contempt ; if any shall de- 
spise the ecclesiastical order, that it become reproached by 
their example, and the communion of the faithful be tram- 
pled upon, they shall be called to the Consistory, and ad- 
monished : If they shew themselves teacha])le and obedient^ 
they shall be acquitted in a friendly manner : If they obsti- 
nately persist in that which is wM-se, after three admonitioiiF, 
they shall be prohibited the use of the Supi>er, and that shall 
he reported to the Magistracy. 

III. " Respecting the life of each individual, that course 
shall be pursued in correcting faults, which the Lord ha? 
prescribed ; Namely, secret trespasses shall be privately re- 
proved by mild admonitions, nor shall any call his bjotht^r 



to the examination of the Church for a fault, which is not 
connected with public scandal, until he shall have added 
stubbornness to the first offence. 

lY. " Those who hold private admonitions in contempt 
shall be admonished again by the Church. If they remain 
obstinate, and although convicted by lawful testimony, per- 
sist in their obstinacy instead of supplicating pardon, they 
shall be debarred the use of the Supper until they repent. 

V. " Respecting manifest and notorious sins, which the 
Church cannot overlook, this diiierence shall be used ; An 
ordinary offence, for ^vhich the reproof of admonition may 
be sufficient, the Elders of the Consistory shall not prosecute 
any farther. Any one who neglects his duty shall be call- 
ed to account for the example of others : If he asks par- 
don, he shall be forgiven ; but if no repentance shall be ma- 
nifested, the admonition shall be seriously repeated. Those 
who go on to the scandal of the Church shall be debarred 
the holy Supper, as despisers of God, until they shall give 
proof of repentance. 

A^I. " If the offence be more scandalous, and deserving a 
severer punishment than verbal reproof, the Judges of the 
Consistory shall take cognizance of it, that he who has so fal- 
len may be debarred from the holy Supper of the Lord, for 
some short time, that he may humble himself before God. 

VII. " If any one shall obstinately despise the judgment 
of the Consistory, and thrust himself forward to the sacred 
Table, he shall be repelled by the Minister. 

VIII. " That moderation of discipline shall be observed, 
which may give no occasion for complaints on account of un- 
reasonable severity^ and so that the corrections may be alto- 
gether as useful medicines. 

IX. " So also shall the Consistory confine itself within the 
limits of ecclesiastical government, that it may neither dero' 
gfttc nor diminish any thing from the ordinary power of the 

1553 LIFE OF CALVIN. l.jij 

Magistracy : And the Ministers of llie word shall be content 
cd with the spiritual sword, and not concern themselves with 
the civil jurisdiction, lest they take away any thing from the 
Magistracy. As often as causes shall he brought to the 
Consistory, the judgment of which may require civil punish- 
ment or coercion, the parties shall be sent to the Senate, which 
may exercise civil judgment at its own discretion. 

" Besides, the Judges of the Consistory are not only tlie JMi- 
nisters of the word, but double to their number of chosen El- 
ders, who are elected partly from the upper Senate, and part- 
ly from the lower Senate, and usually one of the SyndicLs' 
presides. "# 

" BuLLiNGER TO Calvin, wislics health. 

^* Their Excellencies, the JMagistrates of Geneva, have 
written a letter to the illustrious Senate of our city. As it- 
was written in French, the Chief Magistrate sent it to our 
brother Gualter, to be translated into German ; thus it hap- 
pened that I saw and read it. They proposed three ques- 
tions to our Magistrates : 1. How, from the precept of God, 
and according to the scriptures, excommunication is to be 
exercised, and religion preserved pure ? 2. Whether it can 
be exercised in any other way than by a Consistory ? 
3. What is the custom of our Church in this case ? This 
letter was read in full Senate : and immediately, the Chief 
Magistrate and three Senators were deputed, to consult with 
the three associated Pastors of this Church, concerning the 
proper answer to be given. They consulted, and unanimous- 
ly agreed, to write to the most noble Senate of Geneva, that 
we ^vere very much grieved that they should be so nuich 
troubled, tliat debates and contentions should be hcaj)pc] om 

" See Utters, No. 54. 

156 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1553 

upon another. That for a long time we had heard of the 
Consistorial Laws of that Chuixh ; and acknowledge them to 
be pious and consistent with the word of God ; that they 
ought not to be changed by any innovation ; and that it 
would be more prudent to preserve them entire, especially in 
this age, when men are waxing worse and worse. And al- 
though our discipline does not, in all respects, correspond 
with yours, yet yours is accommodated to the circumstances 
of times, places and persons, and we do not think that it 
should be subverted. But as you wish to know our method 
of proceeding in these cases, we send you the heads of our 
discipline drawn up in a few words. These things were 
agreed upon in our conference to-day, and to-morrow this 
answer will be laid before the whole Senate. How far it will 
meet with their approbation, I cannot say. I pray God, 
from my heart, that he would turn all these things to the 
glory of his name. We have laboured with much anxiety, 
that nothing should be done, that might have any tendency 
to subvert the good laws of your Church. We also exhort 
you to continue faithful to the Lord, and to use moderation 
in all things, so as not to lose, by any excess of rigour, those 
>X'hom the Lord would have preserved, who does not break 
the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax. Farewell, 
most excellent man and beloved brother in the Lord. Eter- 
nal happiness to our brother Budeus ; health to Count a M^r-* 
tinengis, to Galasius and the brethren. 

<< In the utmost haste, Yours, 


" Zurich, Dec. 12, 1553." 

" P. S. I have just received a copy of the letter (rf our no. 
ble Senate. I see nothing different in the substance of it 
from what I have mentioned above. They even seriously 
exhort your Senate, to remain steadfast in thore rules which 
they have heretofore received." 

1553 LIFE OF CALVIN. 157 

The answer of the Magistrates of the Swiss cities, approv- 
ing of the Consistoriai Laws, disappointed the faction of Per- 
rin and Bertilier. This year was remarkable for the contro- 
versies which the wicked excited about doctrine and disci- 
pHne. The issue was, however, on tlie whole successful to 
the cause of religion. Calvin, amidst his other labours, had 
prepared his Commentary on the Gospel of John, which was 
published with the following dedication ; — 


OF Geneva, truly respected in Chiist, John Calvin wish- 
es from the Lord the spirit of prudence and fortitude, and 
a prosperous and successful administration. 

" As often as I call to mind the advice of Christ, by which 
he determines that the office of benevolence in the invitation 
of guests, is to adapt the terms of acceptance to their cir- 
cumstances, at the same time, it occurs to me, that he has 
dignified you with singular honour, in appointing your city 
to be not the receptacle of an individual, or of a few stran- 
gers, but the common place of entertainment for his Church. 
Hospitality is esteemed one of the principal virtues. The 
wicked themselves extol it. And when persons arc condemn- 
ed as extremely barbarous and cruel in their manners, they 
are called «|£vay5, that is, inhospitable. But you have a 
still higher ground of praise, that in these turbulent and 
unhappy times, the Lord has selected you, as the protection 
and confidence of those pious and innocent men who are dri- 
ven away from their dwellings and their country, by the 
cruel and sacrilegious tyranny of Antichrist. Neither is this 
all, but with you the sacred retreat is dedicated to his 
name, and he is here worshipped in purity. Whoever, there- 
fore, endeavours to deprive you of these things, either pri- 
vately or openly in the least degree, must do it not only to 


spoil your city of its principal ornaments, but must be ina« 
liciously hostile to its prosperity. Although then the offices 
of piety, which arc here performed for Christ and his dis- 
persed members, call forth the abusive reproaches of the im- 
pious, this one recompence ought abundantly to satisfy you, 
that the Angels Irom heaven, and the children of God from 
all parts of the world, pronounce you blessed. You may 
then justly disregard the foul reproaches of those who exer- 
cise no more religion or shame in their treatment of God him- 
self, than in those mahcious things which they utter against 
you. Indeed those who abuse you begin first by reproach- 
ing the Deity himself. Your treatment of the unhappy 
exiles may excite the hatred of many against you. There 
is, however, no danger to be feared from it, since he opposes 
the protection of his hand to arrest their rage, who has 
promised himself to be the defence and guardian of those 
cities, where there is a habitation for the doctrine of his gos- 
pel, and an ample residence for those pious men whom 
the world cannot endure. It is evident that the pro- 
fessed enemies of the true doctrines hate you, merely be- 
cause of the protection which they see you afford them. 
Regardless of their machinations and threats, it becomes you 
to defend, with invincible constancy, these two bulwarks, the 
worship of the pure religion, and the pious care of cherish- 
ing the Church which Christ has committed to the shelter of 
your wings. What signify the reproaches, with which the Po- 
pish janglers of the tavern attack us, as having fallen off 
from the Church, because we have departed from the Ro- 
mish platform ? I wish that we were able to testify, before 
God and Angels, with entire confidence, that we had depart- 
ed as far from her pollutions, as the proof of those crimes 
with which she oppresses us, is easy and expeditious. They 
indeed glory in the title of the CathoUck Church, who yet 
reave 4;io«art of the doctrines of the law and Gospel unco^ta- 


minated by their depravations; who corrupt the whole 
worship of God Avith their superstitions ; and who are not 
ashamed to adulterate all the institutions of God with thcii: 
fictions. Indeed, so CathoUck is the mass of errours, by 
which they destroy all piety, that it might be sufficient to 
supply a hundred Churches ^v•ith the means of corruption 
and ruin. We shall never be able to extol, accordini^' to it^ 
richness, the immense goodness of God, by which our deli- 
verance has been eilected from that vortex of death ; so 
that we have an anchor of faith reaching its hold on the so « 
lid and eternal truth of God. That the Papacy is a deformed 
body, cchnpounded of innumerable inventions of Satan, spread 
over the Church, with a confusion and discordance like tliat of 
Babylon, the following commentary ^^ ill, I trust, be a lumi- 
nous witness. In the mean time, I ingenuously confess, that 
from the contagion of her pollutions, which spread them- 
selves far and wide, we are not sufficiently removed. Anti- 
christ complains, that ^ve have departed from him ; but we 
are compelled to mourn that we have with us too many of 
the remnants of those vices ^vhich infect the world. We 
have restored to us the sincere purity of doctrine, a sound 
devotion, the pure worship of God, and the genuine order of 
the Sacraments, such as Christ delivered to his Church; 
but the principal reason why that correction of life and mo- 
rals prevails so much less than it ought, is that a great pari 
of the people, still remembering that unbridled licentious.- 
ness, in which the Papists indulge themselves without re^ 
straint, cannot be brought to submit to the yoke of Christ. 
Our enemies, however, that they may injm-e us among the 
'ignorant, falsely declare, that we are without any discipline 
or order. But this one thing would abundantly refute their 
calumny, if we should be silent, that we have no greater 
contests among ourselves than those about our immoderate 
rigour, as our discipline is indeed accounted by many. You 


are the best witnesses, for me and my colleagues, that we are 
not more austere and restrictive than the obligation of our 
office requires and compels us to be. We therefore rest our- 
selves on the correct judgment of your consciences, which 
are prompt to judge from things before you, concerning us, 
and on the other hand, to perceive how ridiculous is the im* 
piidence of the Papists. 

" I will now say some things of myself. Although my 
numerous writings, I trust, would testify to the world, how 
I have governed this Church, yet I have judged it proper 
to produce some appropriate monument of the fact, which 
should bear the inscription of your name. It is of great 
moment, that the nature of the doctrine, which you know 
is taught by me, should be produced before all. As in the 
beoks which I have hitherto published, I have studied to 
profit both you and the people under your government, after 
my death, it is by no means becoming that the doctrine, 
which hath flowed from your city to foreign nations,' produc- 
ing abundant fruit on every side, should be neglected in this 
Church. He who dedicates this Commentary to you will, I 
trust, have a more abiding hold upon your memories. That 
this may be the case, I pray God himself to infix these 
truths upon your hearts, with his own finger, that they may 
never be erased by the wiles of the adversary. It is God 
only who can give success to my labours, who gave me this 
mind in the first place, that I should have nothing more at 
heart than to provide faithfully for the salvation of you all. 
That I am at a great distance from the exact diligence of 
a good Pastor, and from other virtues which the magnitude 
and excellency of the office demands, I ingenuously confess 
before the world ; and I most assiduously deplore before God 
the many sins which obstruct my course. This, however, 
I confidently profess, that I have not been wanting in faith 
and correctness of disposition. If, however, the wicked do 


not cease to complain, as it is my part to confute their ca- 
lumnies, by well doing", so it is yours to restrain them as 
much as you are able by a sacred exercise of your authority. 
Farewell, most noble Lords, highly respected by me in 
Christ, to whose protection I commend you. 
*'' Geneva, January 1, 1553." 

Tlie progress and establishment of the Reformation iu 
England were interrupted by the premature death of Ed- 
ward VI. He was celebrated for an amiable disposition, and 
unusual talents in the acquirement of learning. Hooper, in 
a letter to Bullinger, written in 1550, observes, " For a 
thousand years there has not been any person of his age, (thir- 
teen), who had such a mixture both of piety and learning, 
with so true a judgment as appeared in him. If he should 
live, and go on suitably to these beginnings, he would be the 
wonder and terrour of the world. He took notes of all the 
sermons he heard ; and after dinner, he asked the young per- 
sons that were bred up with him, an account of what they 
remembered of the sermon, and went over the whole matt(^^ 
with thera."# Calvin, in 1551, publislied his Commentaries 
on Isaiah, and the Canonical Epistles, and dedicated them to 
Edward ; he wrote also some private letters to thi^ young 
Prince, to stir up his excellent disposition, in forwarding the 
work of Reformation in the Church. Edward succeeded his 
father, Henry VIII., in 1547, at the age of nine years ; and 
during the seven years of his reign, the progress of the cause 
of religion was extensively advanced under the influence of 
Cranmer, Somerset, Ridley, Grindal, Peter Martyr, Bucer,f 
Dr. Cox, and many others, who revised the Liturgy and Arti- 
cles of the English Church from most of the corrugations of IV 

* 15umet,Tli8t. of Reform, vol. 3, p. 19a 
^ See Notes and Biog-. No. 14. 



pery. The letters of Calvin to the Duke of Somerset, to Cran- 
nier, to Edward, and the Lords of the Council, # and his 
theological writings had their proportionate influence in the 
revision of the Liturgy in 1552, and also in 1502, under 
Queen Elizabeth. Heylin himself states, that the only cause 
which led to the revision of the Liturgy in 1550, was the ins» 
flnence of Calvin, and that some things were rejected, and 
some articles superinduced, in the revision of the Liturgy, in 
compliance w ith his opinion. 

The same writer, in his zeal against the Presbyterians, 
says, " That he (Calvin) had his emissaries in the Court 
and among the Clergy ; his agents in the city and country ; 
his intelligencers (one Blonsieur Nicholas among the rest) 
In the University. All of them active and industrious to 
advance his purposes ; but none more mischievously practi- 
cal than John Alasco, a Polonian born, but a profest Calvi- 
nian." He then charges Alasco with introducing the table 
and posture of sitting at the Lord's Supper first in Eng- 
land ', and adds — " Not to proceed to more particulars, let 
it suffice, that these emissaries (of Calvin, Peter Martyr, Fa- 
gius, Bucer, Alasco, and others) did so ply their work, by 
continual soliciting of the King, the Council and Convoca- 
tion, that at last the book (of Common Prayer) was brought 
to a review% The product and result whereof was the se^ 
cond Liturgy confirmed in Parliament, anno 5, 6, Edw. VI.^ 

1552. Thereupon we may conclude, that the first 

Liturgy was discontinued, and the second superinduced upon 
it, after this review, to give satisfaction unto Calvin's cavils, 
the curiosities of some, and the mistakes of others of his 
friends and follower s.'^^f 

In consequence of the answers of thB Helvetick Churches, 
approbating the Consistory, on the 26. of Feb. 1354, the dif- 

* See Letters, Nos. 56—42, 45, 53. f Heylin, pp. 206» 20r, 

1554 LIFE OF CALVIN. 163 

ficulties were, by solemn promise in the presence of the Senate, 
consigned to oblivion. Tlie faction, however, still dissatisfi- 
ed with restraints, increased in their immoralities, and pm'sii- 
ed their former purposes. Calvin exerted his extensive influ- 
ence to recal them to an honourable course of life ; and to 
strengthen the virtuous against their contagious examples. 
Their habits of perversity were, however, too strong to be 
corrected by persuasive means. Disappointed but not hum- 
bled, in the desperate hope of success, they turned the Avord 
fti God into obscene songs, for the purpose of ridiculing the 
Psalms which were sung in the worship of Geneva. The ex- 
iles, who had resorted to the city for protection, and who 
were strongly attached to Calvin, were grossly insulted, and 
even robbed in their evening walks. On the accession of 
Queen Mary, persecutions began against the Reformers in 
England, and great numbers were driven into Germany and 
Switzerland. Providence opened, in these countries, a secure 
retreat for the friends of the pm'e doctrines, who had a few 
years before, under the oppressive Interim of Charles V., re- 
ceived the exiled Germans with hospitality in England. Cal- 
vin felt a deep interest in the Avelfare of the English, who 
took up their residence at Vesel, Embden and Frankfort. 
Being of different opinions on the subject of Church order 
and worship, those at Frankfort applied to Calvin for advice. 
His answer is interesting, and as Dr. Hcylin has translated it, 
it shall be given, verbatim, from his History of the Presbyte- 

<* Calvin to the English at Frankfort, wishes health. 

" It is no small affliction to me, and in itself no less incon- 
venience, that a contention should be raised bL't^veen breth- 
ren professing the same faith, and living as banished men or 
ej^ies for the same religion ; especially for such a cau?o. 

16i LirE OF CALVIN. 1554 

which, in this time of your dispersion, ought to have been 
the bond of peace to bind you the more fii'mly to one ano-^ 
ther. For what ought rather to be aimed at by you in this 
wofal condition, than that being torn away from the bowels 
of your native country, you should put yourselves into a 
Church, which might receive you in her bosom conjoined to- 
gether (like the children of the same parent) both in hearts 
and tongues ? But at this time, in my opinion, it is very un- 
reasonable that troubles should be raised amongst you about 
ceremonies, and forms of prayer (as happens commonly 
amongst those who live in wantonness and ease), by means 
whereof you have been hindered hitherto from growing into 
one body* I do not blame the constancy of those men, who 
being unwillingly drawn into it, do earnestly contend in an 
honest cause ; but rather the stubbornness of those, which 
hitherto hath hindered the holy purpose of forming and es- 
tablishing a Church amongst you. For as I use to shew 
myself both flexible and facile in things indifferent, as all 
rites and ceremonies are, yet I cannot always think it profita- 
ble to comply with the foolish waywardness of some few men, 
who" are resolved to remit nothing of their ancient customs. 
I cannot but observe many tolerable fooleries in the Enghsh 
Liturgy, such as you have described it to me ; — in Anglicana 
Liturgia, qualem describitis, multas video fuisse tolerabiles in- 
I'ptias. By which two words, (those names of tolerable foole- 
ries) I mean only this, that there is not such purity or perfec- 
tion, as was to be desired in it ; which imperfections, notwith- 
standing, not being to be remedied at the first, were to be 
borne with for a time, in regard that no manifest impiety 
was contained in them. It was therefore so far lawful to be- 
gin with such beggarly rudiments {a taUbus elejnentis), that 
the learned, grave and godly Ministers of Christ might be 
thereby encouraged for proceeding farther, in setting out 
i^omewhat which might prove more pure and perfect. If 

1554 LIFE OF CALVIN. 165 

true religion had flourished till this time in the Church of 
England, it had been necessary that many things in that 
book should have been omitted, and others altered to the ])et- 
ter. But now that all such principles are out of force, {Nunc 
^uum ever sis illis principiis) and that you were to constitute 
a Church in another place, and that you were at liberty to 
compose such a form of worsliip which might be useful to 
the Church, (de intcgro componcre) and more conduce to 
edifkation, than the other did ; I know not -what to tliink of 
those who are so much delighted with the dregs of Popery, 
(quidsibi vclint nescio, quosfmcis Papisticm rcUqumtaniopcTe 
delectant.) But conmronly men love those things best to 
which they have been most accustomed. Which though in 
the first place it may seem a vain and childish folly, yet in 
the next place it may be considered, that such a new model 
is much diiferent from an alteration, (nova institutio). 
Howsoever, as I would not have you too stiiT and perempto- 
ry, if the infirmity of some men suffer them not to come up 
to your own desires ; so I must needs admonish others, not to 
be too much pleased with their wants and ignorances ; nor to re- 
tard the course and progress of so good a work by their own per- 
verseness ; nor finally, to be transported in the manner by such 
foolish emulation. For what other ground have they for this 
contention, but that they think it a disgrace to yield unto 
better counsels ? But possibly I may address my words in 
vain to those, who peradventure may not ascribe so much un- 
to me, as to vouchsafe to hearken unto any advice w hich dotli 
proceed from such a despicable author, (a tali auctorc.) If 
any of them fear that any sinister report will be raised of 
them in England, as if they had forsaken that religicu for 
which they put themselves into voluntary CAiie, they are 
much deceived. For this ingenuous and sincere profession 
will rather compel those godly men, which are left behind, 
seriously to consider what a deep aby^s they are fallen into ; 


^\hosc dangerous estate will more grievously wound them, 
when they shall see that you have travelled beyond the middle 
of that course, from which they have been so unhappily re- 
tracted, or brought back again. Farewell, my most dear 
brethren, the faithful servants of Jesus Christ ; and be you 
still under the governance and protection of the Lord your 
" Geneva, January 15, 1554." 

The controversy still continued. Dr. Cox, who had been 
tutor to Edward VI., and one of the principal revisers of 
the Liturgy in 1552, was with others strenuous to adhere to 
the English forms. Sir Francis Knollis, Mr. Knox, Mr. 
Goodman, and Mr. Whittingham, afterwards Dean of Dur- 
ham, were determined upon a still farther reform in their 
Liturgy. In this situation Dr. Cox and fourteen others ad- 
dressed a letter to Calvin for his advice. The following is 
the ansv, ei*. 

" Calvin to Cox and his associates, Salutem dicit. 

" I have delayed aoswering your letter, excellent men and 
beloved brethren, longer perhaps than you hoped or ex- 
pected. But when you know that the way has, for some- 
th-ne, been beset l)y robbers, so that a messenger can with di- 
ficulty go to you from this place, you will readily pardon 
me this delay. I have freely communicated to our good 
brother Thomas Sampson, what I learned from the letters of 
r-omc persons concerning the unhappy contest which was 
agitated among you. Some of my friends also complain, 
that you defend, ^\ith such precision, the English ceremo- 
nicF, as sho\vs you evidently to be too strongly wedded to 
the forms of your country. I confess I have heard the rea- 
sons ^vhJch you ])nb]tckly allege^ as forbidding you to de- 

155^ LIFE OF CALVIN. 167 

part at all from the established forms ; but they were such 
as admitted a prompt and easy confutation. As I have ex- 
horted those who dissent from you, tliat they should yield 
all the moderation possible, so I was displeased, that on your 
part, you conceded or remitted nothing. But as the name 
of no individual was expressly mentioned to me, I dared not 
make any interposition, lest my confidence should expose me 
to the accusation of rashness. But I now rejoice, tliat 
you have been more courteous and tractable about this 
controversy ; and that the whole business has been amicably 
adjusted. Surely no one, I believe, in his sound judgment, 
will deny, that Tapers, Crosses, and the fopperies of this 
vanity, have proceeded from superstition. Whence I con- 
clude, that those who retain them, from their o^vn deliberate 
opinion, too passionately drink from the dregs. I see no rea- 
son why the Church should be burdened by such frivolous 
and impertinent ceremonies ; not to call them pernicious, the 
proper epithet, when the liberty is permitted you of compos- 
ing a pure and simple order of worship. But I restrain my- 
self, lest I may appear to excite new differences about a 
matter that is, as I hear from you, now well settled. This 
indeed I do not dissemble, that in my opinion, it was neither 
done in a pious nor brotherly manner, if N. (Knox) was call- 
ed in question on any clandestine information of individuals. 
It would have been better ibr you to have remained in your 
own country, than to kindle the fire of unjust cruelty in a 
foreign country, which may inflame others, however unwil- 
ling. But as it grieves me to touch even lightly upon crimes, 
the memory of which I wish was buried in perpetual oI)!iviou, 
I wiU only exhort you, my respected brethren, to -ive all 
diligence to pacify tlie minds of those whom you perceive to 
be justly agitated at the offence of those individuals. AThen I 
heard that some were determined to leave that City, (Frank- 
fort) I earnestly admonished them, as wa^ my duty, that if ft 

1^68 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1554 

was not convenient for therti all to dwell togetlier in tlie same 
place, by no means to suffer the distance of places to destroy 
their brotherly comnmnion. I was apprehensive, that some 
secret dislike, from their former contentions, might still re- 
main. Nothing will be more grateful to me, than to be de- 
livered from this apprehension. For if any should come to 
this city, the very suspicion of a secret dissension among 
yourselves would grieve me much. I hope, therefore, that 
what you write of the free reconciliation may be firm, and 
extensively lasting ; so that if any part should go forth to 
any other place, you may, notwithstanding local distance, 
still cultivate a holy friendship. There has been sin enough 
already committed, although discord should proceed no far- 
ther. But prudence and equity demand of you, carefully to 
purge away whatever of alienation may still remain, that 
you may be held together in the bonds of charity. May the 
Lord protect you by his power, direct you by his Spirit, fol- 
}o^v you Avith his blessing, and mitigate the afflictions of your 

« Geneva, June 12, 1554." 

Notwithstanding the plain and pacifick advice of Calvin, 
those who were in favour of reforming the Liturgy were un- 
der the necessity of removing from Frankfort. They took 
refuge in Geneva, and established an English Church m con- 
formity to the Presbyterian order. Knox and Goodman were 
the Pastors, who afterwards returned to Scotland, and the 
ether members, after the death of JMary, to England. 

During this year, a controversy arose between the Minis- 
ters of the French Church at Strasbm'g, about the Eucha- 
rist. The following letter will present some things not unin- 
teresting. Jerome Zanchius is the brother designated by the 
letter N. as appears from Mekhior Adam's Life of Zanchius, 
and from Bayle. 


" J. CALVIN TO Dr. Marpachius, Pastor of the Church of 

« For almost six months, I Iiave heard, with great grief, 
many things about the disturbances in the French Church 
which is with you. While those few wicked and obstinate 
men are determined to trouble our brother N. their outrage 
is the cause, which disturbs with contention that httle Churcli, 
to which the Lord granted a place of refuge among you. It 
is not strange that this news should be gad and severe to me ; 
for the scattering of this flock would wrmg my very heart 
with sorrow ; as it was God's will that I should formerly col. 
lect them by my labour, and cherish them for a season* Air 
though I was very anxious, that some remedy should be sea^ 
sonably applied ; yet as I hoped that whatever tumults were 
excited they w^ould be easily quelled by your and your bro- 
ther's prudence and moderation, I thought it best for me to 
remain silentj lest I might give you unnecessary trouble, or 
appear to distrust your equity. But as it is rumoured, that 
affairs are daily growing worse, I determined to w rite to you> 
for my grief would not allow me to be silent any longer. 
But while I am reflecting on this, behold a more joyful mes- 
ijenger announces, that your most noble Senate are taking 
proper measures to restrain the audacity of those five wicked 
men ; that now the coimnotions are quieted ; and that 
the state of things is at least tolerable. I wish all things were 
iiettled according to our prayers, so that nothing should re- 
main but for me to congratulate, upon pure and stabk 
grounds. But as there is yet a certain sad suspicion and feiu- 
of what is still to come, I thought it was my duty to ^iyq 
all diligence to remove this evil. Two things, as lar as I can 
understand, were the principal causes of all these evils. Jn 
the beginning, N, wa<' complained of for thiakingand IducLi^ 


no LIFE OF CALVIiV. 1554 

iiig differently fronr you on the Lord's Supper. I will not say 
by whom, or with what intention, the means of peace should 
have been used. The trial of the cause was commenced. 
But if the business had been transacted with good faith, it 
ought to have been dismissed. He who had been accused 
gave a confession of his faith. How true, how evident, and 
how full, I do not determine. This is sufficient for me, that 
it was admitted. Therefore I have thus heretofore thought 
with myself, that the opinion of your brother and fellow 
IMinister, if not wholly approl^ated by your silence, was de- 
clared tolerable. It is not to be supposed, that during this 
time you were obliquely contriving any secret artifices. 
Could I suppose, therefore, but that more than was just had 
been granted to those five unprincipled men, by which they 
were enabled to disturb the Church ? This ought to be ex- 
amined, in order, by you all, Avhether it is lawful or becom^ 
ing, indeed whether it is right and courteous, to cherish 
against their Pastor five turbulent men, who have openly se- 
parated from the body of the Church. But as this wound is 
now healed, I return to the first subject. I do not sufficient- 
ly comprehend what was demanded of N. more than he 
performed. You ought to be careful, that he should not be 
pressed with too much precision. If that excellent servant of 
God, and faithful Doctor of tlie Church, Luther, was now 
living, even he would not be so severe or implacable, but 
that he would willingly admit this confession, that what the 
Sacraments represent is truly given us- ; and therefore in the 
Lord's Supper we are made partakers of the body and blood 
of Christ. For how ofteii has he declared, that the only 
ground of his contention was, that it miglit be manifest, that 
the Lord did not trifle with us, by empty signs, but that he 
eifected within, what he proposed to our eyes, and thence 
the efiject was connected with the signs. This is agreed upon 
among us, unless I am greatly deceived, that the Lord'? 


1554 LIFE OF CALVIN. 17 J 

Supper is not a theatrical spectacle of tlie spiritual food, but 
that what is represented is really given ; because at the Sup- 
per the pious souls are fed with the flesh and lilood of Clu-ist. 
Although I address myself to you, rather in the character of 
an intercessor, than of an instructor, yet I must freely say, 
that those would be too morose, who, not contented a\ ith 
this moderation, would depose their brother from the minis- 
try. Besides, it is a pernicious example, that he who was 
rightly, and in order, called to the oiFice of Pastor, should 
be deposed without a lawful judgment of the Church, and at 
the mere will of the Senate. It indeed begins to ])e the 
custom in many places ; but I have often seen it fall on the 
heads of those who knowingly and wilfully betrayed the 
rights of the Church. The sacred memory of Caplio and 
Bucer, which still flourishes among all the pious, and will, I 
hope, long flom-ish, whose faith and prudence, erudition and 
integrity, were well known, still, like a lamp, illuminatee^ 
that place, so that whatever is done on either side by yoa, 
will be more conspicuous, and more publick for an example. 
Whatever was their form of worship, in preserving the order 
of the Church, they would have sufl^ered death ten times, 
before they would have approved, I do not say by their con- 
cent, but even by their silence, of the forcible deposition of a 
Pastor. If you, or your colleagues, should liope to derive 
any benefit from my presence, verily I should not refuse the 
labour of going. Indeed I would the more wiliingly go to 
you, because I see myself also involved in this controversy. 
It would be very afl^icting to me, to see that kind of doctrine, 
which I formerly so freely taught there, both in tlie Clmrch 
and the school, rejected with slight. But I ^\ould not be tco 
importunate. I did not intend to proceed farther tlian by 
asking, advising, entreating and exhorting you, tliat I migiil 
procure, in this way, the peace of ray pious brother, and of 
the unhappy little Church. If I hear that I have ol>tainod 

1 12 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1554 

the object, I so much desire, it will afford us all very great 
joy. Farewell, excellent man, with my dearest brethren, 
your fellow Ministers, who with you govern that Church, 
to whom, if you think proper, I wish the contents of this let- 
ter to be made known. May the Lord protect you all, and 
direct you with the spirit of prudence, rectitude, equity and 
constancy, and may he bless your labours. Amen. 

" Yours, JOHN QALVIN. 

« Geneva, August 24, 1554." 

The following letter, written to the excellent and learned 
Sleidan, in the confidence of friendship, relates to the affairs 
of the Church at Strasburg ; — 

" Calvin to John Sleidan, wishes health. 

" Being informed lately, by the letter of our brother N. . 

that you were one of the three, appointed by the Senate to 
to govern the French Church, I was, as might be expected, 
greatly rejoiced ; and I trust that this will long be to me a 
matter of joy. For I conclude, that this office was imposed 
upon you rather by the wisdom of God than of man, that 
lyy your prudence and fidelity you might quiet those distur^ 
l^ances which the adversary has hitherto excited. From 
this circunistanoe you will therefore take carej that no occasion 
be given to the wicked to raise any tumult. Now then that 
little flock has been provided for according to the pray- 
rr of my heart. It is not from fear that I refrain from ex^ 
horting you to your duty, but because I esteem it to be un- 
necessary. How much I ought to rejoice at the agreement 
of Melancthon with us in one thin^, I know not ; since on the 
chief points, he openly attacks the sound doctrine, and is ei- 
ther selling himself to the Philosophers, or for fear of exciting 
iho hatred of Po;ne individuals against himself, he craftily, or 

1544 LIFE OF CALVIN. 173 

at least disingenuously, conceals his opinion. ]\Iay tlie Lord 
grant him a stronger resolution, lest from his timidity pos- 
terity suffer an extensive injury. 

" Within tliree months, five or six have been burnt in 
Aquitaine, in whose death Christ has gloriously triumphed. 
Lately also, in a town of the Veaetian Republick, a little ])e- 
yond Vulturnia, a pious man, well known to me, confessed 
Christ with admirable constancy, to the last breath. AVe 
have nothing new, but what is equally known to you. Fare- 
well, excellent and much respected man.^ May the Lord al- 
ways protect and bless you, together with your family. Con, 
cerning the Turkish fleet we have received more certain news, 
that having burnt some towns, laid waste the maritime coun= 
try, and taken 5000 prisoners, they have returned to Greece. 

« Geneva, September 20, 1554." 

During this year, Calvin wrote many letters to forward 
the work of Reformation in foreign parts ; and laboured to 
strengthen the faith of different Churches, and of the perse- 
cuted brethren. He finished about this time his learned and 
elaborate Commentary upon Genesis. 

The two following are selected from the many letter^s 
which the Genevese Reformer ^\Tote about this time :— 

i* Calvin to Martyk, wishes health. 

^' Although our friend John Sturmius, when he gave me 
his advice concerning the dedication of my Commentaries, 

* Joha Slcidan, the German historian, was born 1506, and died at Stras. 
burg 1555. He wrote the history of the state of religion and publirk af- 
fairs, in 25 books, from 1517 to 1555. This history is esteemed, by the 
karned, to be well and faithfully written, and his authority is resijected. 
James Siurmius, a magistrate of Strasburg, whose influence was great in 
the Reformation in that city, agisted Skldan in his Imioiy. James Stur, 
•mm dkd October, 1553. 

17^ LIFE OF CALVIN. 1554 

added that you were of the same mind, yet it was far more 
pleasing to be informed of the same by your own letter. 
One thing I fear, that my work, for which you manifest so 
much regard, Avill not be worthy of so high estimation. But 
how happens it, that you are silent about your own Commen- 
taries on the same book, (Genesis) ? From your answer to 
Robert Stephens, when you were in England, I expected 
that they would be shortly pubHshed. I am sorry, that the 
Church of God should be so long deprived of those advan- 
tages, which I believe will be extensive. In the present 
confused mass of books, it is of the first importance, that the 
^\ eighty, learned and solid studies of pious and well-thinking 
men, w ho are endowed with equal authority and judgment, 
should be published ; both to defend the purity of doctrine, 
tliat it may descend unsullied and entire to posterity, and 
to repress the absurd Jevily of those, who throw all things 
into confusion. Concerning JMcIancthon, I feel very much 
grifvcd. It is not sufficient for him to waver, and turn 
^viiich way soever the favour of men will carry him, or be- 
tray the truth by silence ; but he must endeavour to bring 
over to his effeminacy the firm servants of God, whose ex- 
ample it v.'ould rather become him to imitate. You have 
done excellently well, in professing yourself a free defender 
of the true doctrine. For thus, by your example, a rule is 
prescribed to him, how far peace is to be cherished, that he 
may at length learn to aspire to some portion of a deter- 
mined mind. I liave written to your colleague, at the re- 
quest of Stiirmius, who would too submissively gratify him. 

However this may succeed in pacifying that N , I shall 

never repent of having attempted something. If some have 
fallen off, it is your duty to bear with more fortitude the 
burden vdiich is imposed upon you. Since I am fully con- 
vinced tliat you do this, I am more and more confirmed in the 
opjuion, that you were detained at Strasburg by the wonderful 

1554 LIFE OF CALVIN. 175 

f*rovidence of God, that you might give assistajice to that trou- 
bled Church. Please to salute Zaiichius in my name. Our 
friend the Marquis salutes you. Farewell, most excellent 
man, and respected brother. IMay the Lord be with you 
always, govern you and bless your labours. If your letters 
had arrived sooner, your advice would have rendered the 
exhortation to the Princes more copious. But I did not re- 
ceive them till after the middle of August. My colleagues 
salute you. 

« Yours, JOHN CALVIN. 

" Geneva, August 26, 1554.'* 

" Calvin to Melancthon, S. D, 

« I am grieved, and very much wonder, that my last let- 
ter has not been answered by you. I cannot however suspect 
that this arises from pride or contempt ; as nothing could be 
more inconsistent with your disposition and habits. Having 
found, therefore, a messenger who offers to take the trouble 
of carrying my letter to you, I thought I would again ^t- 
tempt to draw something from you. I do not say this, be- 
cause I question your love for me, which was always beyond 
measure ; but because I judge your silence to be prejudicial 
to the Church of God. It is on this account that it ought to 
be afflicting and troublesome to me. 

" I "WTote lately on that ^wint of doctrine, about w hich 
you more dissemble your own opinion than differ from us* 
For what else can I think of a man of most penetrating judg- 
ment, and so eminently skilled in the divine doctrines ? Since 
no one, who is moderately conversant in the sacred writings, 
conceals that w hich you yourself cover as unknown. And 
yet the knowledge of the gratuitous mercy of God is destroy- 
ed from the foundation, unless we hold this, that it is by the 
mere good pleasure of God, that the fuithlul, whom he ha'^ 


chosen to salvation, are separated from the wicked ; and un- 
less this is allowed also, that faith emanates from the secret 
election of God ; because he illuminates, by his Spirit, those 
A\ horn it seemed good to him to choose before they were born, 
and plants them by the grace of adoption, in his family. 
Consider, ^\'ith your usual prudence^ how absurd it is, that 
ihis doctrine should be unsettled by so eminent a Divine. 
You must see, that it will afford a very pernicious example, 
ff ill our writings such a manifest difference should be ob- 
served. Nor will I prescribe this rule for removing differ- 
ences, that you should assent to my opinion; bat let us by 
no means be ashamed to subscribe to the holy oracles of God. 
I will readily embrace whatever method of conciliation shall 
be pointed out as agreeable to you. Behold ignorant and 
turbulent men on your side, renewing the sacramentarian 
war ; while all the good sigh and complain that such men 
encourage themselves by your silence. For although igno- 
i-unce is bold, yet no one doubts, but that if you profess pub- 
lickly what you think, you would subdue, or at least, in a 
grfeat measure, you would easily appease their intemperance. 
I am not so ignorant of human nature, that I cannot consider 
with myself, and point out toothers also, the kind of men 
^\ith whom you have to deal ; how the confusion of affairs 
keeps you anxious and perplexed ; hew many tilings must 
])e circumspectly observed by you, which impede and delay 
your progress. But nothing is so injurious as j'Our dissimu- 
lation. This loosens the curb upon these furious men, to dis- 
turb and excite divisions in the Churches. I will not men- 
tion how dear an ingenuous profession of the true doctrine 
ought to be to us. You know that, for more than thirty 
years, the eyes of an innumerable multitude hav^ been fixed 
on you, desiring nothing more than to submit themselves to 
your instruction. What ? Are you ignorant, that many 
Bang in suspence, from that ambiguous form of testching, to 

1554 LIFE OF CALVIN* 177 

which you adhere with too much timidity. But if you are 
not free to ]je honest to yourself j and teach substantially 
what is useful to be known, you are at least bound to exert 
yourself to bridle the intemperate violence of those, ^vho are 
officiously raising tumults about nothing. For what, I be- 
seech you, would these men have? Luther exclaimed, 
through his whole life, that he contended for nothing, but 
to assert that efficacy which he attributed to the sacraments. 
It is agreed, that they are not empty forms, but that they 
give truly what they represent : that in Baptism the efficacy 
of the Spirit is present, to wash and regenerate us : that tlie 
holy Supper is a spiritual feast, in which we are truly fed by 
the flesh and blood of Christ. In quelling the tumults, 
therefore, which these preposterous men have again excited, 
the cause is of too great interest to suffer us to yield it up 
through the fear of hatred. You cannot indeed escape these 
various agitations, in the course you are pursuing. All our 
exertions are to be directed to this single point, that the 
brazen wall of a good conscience may firmly support us 
not only in these, but in all the violent attacks with which 
the Avhole world may assault us. Already I hear you call- 
ed, by the patrons oWsiander, too flexible, and charged mth 
being more devoted to profane philosophy than to the doc-* 
trines of revelation. This reproach wounds me more severe- 
ly, than if those malicious and perverse men should object 
against you that Avhich it Avould be not only honoural^le for 
you to confess, but magnificently glorious for you to pro- 
claim as your opinion. Farewell, dearest man and brotlicr, 
respected by me above others. IMay the Lord be your de- 
fence, and continue to guide you by his Spirit even unto the 


. " Gbnev.s August S6, 1554." 


178 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1555 

The union of sentihient among the Swiss Churches, about 
the Lord's Supper, had, for several years, been a source oi 
strong consolation to the Pastors and pious brethren. This 
agreement, however, had been equally an object of hatred to 
the factious spirits of errour. At this time, Joachim West- 
phal, a man of much intemperate violence, rekindled the 
fire of controversy. He was strongly bigoted in favour of 
Consu])stantiation, and severe in his opposition to the doctrine 
of Zuinglius and Calvin about the Eucharist. Heshusius, 
Minister at Heidleburg,# followed up the attack of West- 
plial, and severely abused the mild and perhaps too tempo- 
rizing 3Ielancthon. He also opposed the articles of union be- 
tween the Helvetick Churches, relative to the Lord's Supper. 
Calvin published an explanation of the articles of agreement, 
which greatly established the friends of peace, while it in- 
creased the violence of Westphal and Heshusius against the 
opinions of those Churches on that subject. Those who 
^visli to travel over the ground of the controversy, concern- 
ing the spiritual nature of the Lord's Supper, on the one 
hand, and the real presence of the body and blood of Christ 
in the consecrated elements, on the other, will find in the 
tracts of Calvin, in answer to Westphal, Heshusius and the 
•Magdeburgenses, &c. an ample and elaborate discussion of 
that much controverted question. These diiferent tracts 
were published in 1554, 1556, 155r, and 1561-1 

The following letter exhibits the state of Calvin's mind, 
concerning the controversy which Westphal had excited :— 

" Calvin to Farel, Salatem dicit. 

" My dear Farel — Although I might justly glory in the 
reproaches, which virulent and petulant tongues heap upon 

* See Bayle. f See Opuscula Calviiu, p. 648—744 


me, since they rail at me for nothing, but what I believe 
God and his Angels approve, yet notwithstanding, I earnest- 
ly desire to be secreted in some retirement ; if in that way 
their fury, which appears to be enkindled by my presence, 
might be abated. I do not speak of the worthless, whom 1 
have long since learned to estimate as they deserve. But it 
is to me a source of substantial grief, to see Heaven con- 
stantly assaulted by giants, out of hatred to me. Let us, 
however, bear it patiently, since we know that it is by the 
direction of divine Providence, that we are tossed about by 
so great tempests. Westphal has published an illiberal book 
against me, to which I know not whether it is expedient to 
give an answer. Some of my friends request me to do it. 
When I have read it, the Lord ^vill direct to what is best. 
You seem to suppose, that I can produce a volume in a 
moment, and would have me publish more Commentaries 
than could be written in the course of a long life, by one 
who was freed from all other cares. How much leisure 
time, do you suppose I have, after discharging myofiicial 
duties ? I wish others would undertake to refute tliose ag- 
gressive works. I will most earnestly advise Melancthon to 
this task ; but you know how dilatory he is. FareA\ ell, best 
and most beloved brother. May the Lord be always a\ ith 
you, protect and support you. IMy brethren and friends sa- 
lute you much, and among others our friend Beza, who b 
now with me. 

« Geneva, October 10, 1555." 

The labours, the trials and successive contest?, \vhich Cal- 
vin had to pass through, in preserving the order, and promo- 
ting the purity of the Church of Geneva, were extrcimly ar- 
duous. Love to the cause of Christ was his ruling passion. 
In seeking first the kingdom of God, he seems to have lost 
sight of every other object. His confidence in the special 

lao LIFE OF CALVIN. 1555 

Providence of his Master, was unremitting. He was firm in 
his hope, that the sunshine of peace would ultimately be en- 
joyed in that Church. In a person, whose feelings were so 
acute, and affections so strong as his were, for the purity of 
doctrine and discipline, the immoralities and crimes of the 
members of that Church must have caused the most painful 
sensations. The day however of better things, to the Church 
and Republick of Geneva, was now at hand. In the begin- 
ning of the year 1555, the authors of sedition against ecclesi- 
astical restraints prepared the way for their own destruction. 
They fell victims to the storm, which was raised by their 
desperate wickedness. Some of the leaders were capitally 
punished ; others fled from their country ; and all of them 
came to a shameful end, furnishing an example of the slow 
but just judgment of God, against the enemies of his Church. 

Calvin, in a letter to Bullinger, gives a concise statement 
relative to the downfal of Perrin and his faction. # 

The Republick of Geneva was now freed from those fac- 
tious leaders, who had opposed the order of the Church, and 
disturbed the administration of justice. The crafty, ambi- 
tious and inunoral Perrin, who had so long continued his 
baneful labours, was now completely disgraced, and had lied 
to escape punishment. The former edicts concerning the ec- 
clesiastical polity were reenacted, by the unanimous suffrages 
of the citizens. A new tone was given to the morals of the 
people ; and the affairs of the Church were conducted in 
comparative peace. 

The King of Poland, having read Calvin's Tract concern- 
ing The Reformation of the Church, became interested to intro- 
duce the principles of reform more extensively into the 
Churches of his country. He requested a correspondence 
with the Divine of Geneva ; whose letters to the King, and 

* See Letters, No. 52. 

1555 LIFE OF CALVIN. 181 

other distinguished persons in Poland, are a proof of his as- 
siduity in promoting the cause of Christ iii its purity. 

This year, Mary, Queen of England, pursued the work 
of persecution with great violence. Eight hundred persons 
were put to death, at different times, by various kinds of 
punishment. Among the great number of IMinisters, who 
were burnt, Nicholas Ridley^ IJugh Latimer^ John Hooper, 
Robert Ferrar, and Thomas Cranmer, were distinguished 
* Martyrs. The remains of of Martin Bucer and Paul Fagius 
were dug up, and committed to the flames, after having been 
bm'ied about four years. # Calvin ^vas deeply afflicted at 
the death of those eminent Elnglish Reformers. With Cran- 
mer he had, for several years, a correspondence, which had a 
salutary iniiuence in reforming the Liturgy of the English 
Church. In France also, persecutions at this time prevailed. 
Calvin addressed a consolatory letter to his brethren, who 
were in chains. And he gave the most animating instruc- 
tions, to encrease the fortitude, and strengthen the patience, 
of the five Martyrs, Avho were burnt at Cambray. 

Matthew Gribauld, a Lawyer, who maintained some hereti- 
cal notions concerning the being of God and the Person of 
Christ, had, for several years, occasionally visited Geneva.f 
Some Italians, who had been under his instruction at Padua, 
introduced him to Calvin, with whom he requested to have 
a private dispute, upon some of his own theological dogmas. 
^ Calvin agreed, on condition that there should be proper w it- 
ncsscs prcFent at the discussion. This he refused. "When he 
came again to that city, Calvin informed him, by a fiiend, 
that he was free to confer with him, in the presence of his 
brother Ministers, and three Ecclesiastibvs Scnioribus-Church 
Elders ; assuring him, that he need fear no danger from any 
disclosure of his sentiments. Gril)auld agreed to the propo- 

* See Ruclioltzer's Chronolog-y, Anno 1555. 

t Epist. Culvuii, Georgio Comiti Wirtebcrgensi, &c. May 2, 1557. 


sal, and came to the appointed place, where Calvin and the 
others were assembled. Calvin declined giving him his hand, 
and excused himself from using any deceitful ceremonies 
with one, who differed so materially on the essential points of 
religion. He declared, that it was improper to put on appear- 
ances, where there was no real cordiality, but on the contrary 
an entire hostility of sentiment ; and that if they could agree on 
the essential principles of faith, he should feel and would treat 
him with all due respect. Upon this Gribauld left the room 
in a turbulent manner. Tlie seeds of heretical opinions were 
sown by this man, among some of the members of the Italian 
Church, which was under the pastoral care of the amiable 
and learned Count Martinengcs.^ He was the intimate 
friend of Calvin, and while he lived he governed his little 
flock at Geneva with peculiar care. At his death, he commit- 
ted them to the fatherly protection of Calvin, expressing 
great anxiety, lest those pernicious principles of Gribauld 
should prevail to their ruin. The progress of heresy is from 
moderate suggestions to bold impieties. So it was with Gri- 
bauld. He escaped punishment by fleeing from Tubingen, 
where he had been introduced as Professor of Law, by the 
favour of Vergerius. By the Senate of Geneva he was ex- 
cluded from that city. He was afterwards apprehended at 
Bern, and upon his recantation, was released. But soon af- 
ter, he avowed the same opinions, and was apprehended. Be- 
ing seized by the plague, he died in prison, and thus escaped 
a capital punishment.f Jerome Bolseck, after he was exclu- 

* Epist. Calvini ad Martyrem, May 22, 1558. 

f Matthew Gribauld, it is stated by Bayle, wrote and published a 
history of Francis Spira. In the title, Gribauld says he was a familiar ae- 
quaintance of Spira, in 1548, and that he wrote what he saw and heard 
himself. It was printed at Basil, 1550. Sleidan, in his history, de- 
clares that Gribauld was a spectator of the sad condition of Spira, and 
that he wrote and published an account of it ; also, that many others, men 
of distinction, saw Spira in tlut situation, which tlie history describes. 

1556 LIFE OF CALVIN. 183 

ded from the territory of Geneva, resided in the Canton of 
Bern. By his influence, some Ministers in that quarter, who 
were unprincipled and licentious, were induced to allege 
against Calvin, That he made God the author of all evil, be- 
cause he excluded nothing from his eternal Providence and or- 
dination. Being disposed, by misrepresentations, to injure 
the reputation of Calvin, they disregarded the statements 
which he had formerly made in replying to the same objec- 
tions. Calvin had abundantly proved, that the ordination of 
God, concerning man, was consistent with the laws of moral 
agency ; and without attempting to explain the mystery, as- 
serted, and from the Scriptures proved the fact, that the di- 
vine sovereignty was aI:)solute. Though personally regard- 
less of these often repeated calumnies, he however, from con- 
cern for the cause of truth, petitioned the Senate for permis- 
sion to repau' to Bei'n, accompanied by delegates from that 
body, in order to defend the true doctrines of religion be- 
fore the people of that city. The points of doctrine were 
amply discussed. Bolseck was ordered to depart from the 
territory of that Canton. Castalio, who was more artful and 
secret in his enmity against Calvin and those doctrines, was, 
from learning, talents and morals, far more influential than 
Bolseck in spreading the errours of Pelagius. He was censur- 
ed, and also exiled from the territory of Bern. 

Another of these accusers, and not the least violent, Mas 
Andrew Zebedeus. He was a JMinister of Newburg, four 
miles from Geneva. Some time after the decease of Calvin, 
being himself on his death bed, he assembled the principal 
citizens, and confessed his belief of the doctrines of the eter- 
nal Providence and absolute sovereignty of God. He de- 
clared his abhorrence of his treatment of Calvin, and order- 
ed his writings on those subjects to be burnt in his presence. 

In 155G, Calvin was seized with a quartan ague during 
divine service. His constitulion was much debilitated, by 

184 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1557 

the discharge of his numerous official duties, and by his un- 
remitting studies. The reformed Church at Frankfort ap- 
plied to him for his advice, concerning the differences which 
prevailed among them, upon the subject of Baptism and the 
Lord's Supper. Among the letters, which he wrote this year, 
is one addressed to the Church at Franld'ort, and others to 
diiferent persons in that city. Having recovered his health 
in some measure, at their request, he made a visit, in the 
month of August, to that Church, to assist them in set- 
tling the agitated questions. After his return, he resumed 
his labours in preparing his Commentary on the Psalms. 

During the reign of Henry II., the Reformers in France 
suffered many severe persecutions. They had, however, 
in their interest many noble and influential persons, at the 
head of whom was Lewis, first Duke of Conde, and Gaspard 
de Coligni, Admiral of France. The opposition to them 
was powerful, and they were obliged, for their security, to 
celebrate the Supper, and hold their meetings in private 
houses, and with secrecy. A large number, having assem- 
bled, on the 4th of September, in St. James street at Paris,# 
for the celebration of the Supper, were discovered by the 
Papists. Many of them made their escape, by the darkness 
of the night. Eighty were apprehended, imprisoned, and 
treated with the most abusive indignity. Among those 
Avere many noble women of the first rank. Henry was petu- 
lant and cruel ; and at this time his furious bigotry was es- 
pecially enraged at the loss of the battle of St. Quintin. 
Demochares, a Doctor of the Sorbonne, accused them of 
those crimes, which the Pagans charged against the first 
Christians. Their enemies reproached them with being the 
cause of all the calamities of the kingdom ; and suborned 
A^ ilnesses to testify, that in their nocturnal meetings they ia- 

' Buclioltzer's Chronology, 155r. 

1558 LIFE OF CALVIN. 186 

dulged in the most filtliy lewdness. The King ordered 
twenty-one of these unhappy persons to be burnt alive. Seven 
of these were to be committed to the flames at three success 
sive times. One of the first seven was a woman of a noble 
family, who exhibited an example of fortitude becoming a 
believer in the promises of Christ. Two others were youths 
distinguished for their constancy in the faith, under such 
trying circumstances- The Minister, who performed the 
service on the evening when they were apprehended, pub- 
lished the most ample testimony, to prove the falsehood of the 
calumnies with which their accusers had reproached them. 

The interest taken by Calvin, in the distresses of his breth- 
ren, is manifested by the letter which he wrote to the 
Landgrave of Hesse, to secure his interference ^\ itli the King 
of France, to remove the imputation that the Reformers 
were in any mamier the cause of the slaughter at the battle 
of St. Quintin, and also for their deliverance from persecu- 

" Galviw to the most illustrious Prince, liOED Philip, 

Landgkave or Hesse, &c. 

« Most illustrious Prince and Lord, though conscious of 
my inferiority yet I am persuaded, that your Highness con- 
siders me as a faithful servant of Christ ; and that your 
former benevolence towards me still remains the same. I 
will not make a long apology for my request, in a case 
where sloth or omission would on my part be cruelty. I 
abstained from writing to you, when the two brethren 
went to you some time since, because I would not be trou- 
blesome, nor press your Excellency to perform a duty to 
which I believed you were already sufficiently inclined. 
But as they are now going to you the third time, a new 
reason excites me to unite my entreaties with theirs, that 



you may not think their importunities with your Excel- 
lency are repeated so often without cause. It is proba- 
ble, that the rumours which are spread have reached your 
ears, that there was no need of any expostulation with the 
King, who had, of his own accord, ordered all those to be 
liberated, who had been thrown into prison on account of 
the gospel, it is true, that of a great number only seven 
as yet have been burnt. But they are very much deceived, 
who thmk that bounds are now set to this cruelty, as if the 
enemies were grown mild, or were satisfied v*'ith innocent 
blood. The invincible constancy of the IMartyrs has indeed, 
for a moment, broken or restrained their madness. They 
lately led two youths to punishment, -svliose tender age they 
supposed would render them less courageous and constant, 
hoping by their apostacy to brand the true faith with infamy 
and disgrace. Disappointed in these expectations, they were 
disposed to pursue some different course. They examined 
those who appeared most prepared to undergo death, paying 
no regard to their wealth, or distinguished family connections, 
and concealed them in caverns, from which they will, on the 
very first opportunity, be dragged to death, to which they 
believe themselves to be sentenced. And this thing is com- 
monly known. I\Iore than thirty both men and women 
are in this condition. Others are distributed in monasteries, 
to whom the Monks are so many daily tormentors. If many 
have, escaped from these cells, it has not proceeded from 
clemency or humanity ; but because it was agTeeable to the 
Monks, who wish their cloisters to be freed from such nox- 
ious persons, lest the contagion should be propagated among 
them. This half way punishment, however, very much dis- 
pleases the Cardinal, who reigns supremely at Court. This 
is evident from the severe threats and reproaches of the King, 
because the Judges of the Parisian inquisition have not acted 
with more energy and efi'ect. He has, at length, by his Am- 


bassadour, petitioned the Romish Antichrist to appoint three 
Cardinals, to preside over the inquisition, Avith the unl)ri- 
died liberty of destruction and slaughter. He has published 
a new edict by which the Bishops liave committed to them 
the power of Hfe and death. Notliing is left to. the royal 
Judges, but to be the executioners of the sentences of the in- 
quisition. Should we all then remain silent, your Excellen- 
cy will at once, from your singular prudence, discern what 
the event will be, miless immediately obviated by effectual 
measures. Your piety and zeal will no doubt excite you, 
without delay, to succour those unhappy brethren, whose 
sighs and groans ought justly to pierce all pious hearts, and 
stimulate them to provide for their ])rethren the most 
prompt and effectual relief. The request which is now urg- 
ed relates not only to those who are in prison, ])ut to three 
hundred thousand persons, Avho are every moment agitated 
with new terrours. Even now, not only at Paris, but in other 
cities of France, some of the faithful assemble for prayer, and 
other exercises of religion. But while the certain danger of 
death threatens them, the less they spare their own lives, the 
more worthy are they, on that account, to receive assistance, 
if by any means it can l^e afforded them. May the Lord 
protect your Excellency, and adorn you, most illustrious 
Prince, \\ ith all good gifts, and confirm you with the spirit 
of fortitude even unto the end. 
« Geneva, Feb. 27, lo58." 

Calvin wrote letters also, by the two brethren mentioned 
above, Theodore Beza and John Budeus, to Otlio Henry, 
Prince Palatine Elector, and Micliael Dillerus. He forvrard- 
ed to Otlio the confession of faith, ado])ted l)y the Firnch 
reformed Churclies, that he might remove the unfounded as- 
persions, which the agents of Henry II. had endeavoured to 
cast upo)i those ^\ lio a\ ere persecuted, as thougli they ^'vre 

188 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1558 

different in their faith from the German Churches. For it 
was now the interest of Henrj^, as it was formerly of Francis 
I., to excite animosities between the Protestants in Germany 
and the Emperour. Calvin assures Otho, that the French 
inquisition put to death all persons without distinction, who did 
7iot confess that Christ was daily sacrificed in the Mass. Such 
were the bigotry and cruelty of Henry II., that he was him- 
self present at the burning of those unhappy persons, and it 
is said, that the horrible spectacle made so deep an impres- 
sion on his mind, that the idea haunted him during the re- 
mainder of his Iife.=* The German Princes at length inter- 
posed their influence with Henry, and the persecutions were 
in some measure abated. Calvin also addi'essed letters to 
those who were imprisoned for their faith, and encouraged 
them to continue in their sufferings. 

In 1558, an alliance was entered into between the Repub- 
lick of Geneva and that of Bern. One object of this was 
to exclude from the territory of one government, persons 
w^ho had been banished by the other. This greatly dis- 
commoded the plans, cuid frustrated the expectations, of 
those persons who had been excluded from Geneva, and had 
taken up their residence in the Canton of Bern, more con- 
veniently to carry on their attacks upon the doctrines of the 
Genevese Church, and to secure the circulation of their er- 
rours among that people. 

The heretical sentiments, which Gribauld had propagated 
among some of the members of the Italian Church, gave 
rise, at this time, to new controversies. Valentine Gentilis, 
a native of Cosenza, a man of a penetrating and subtle mind, 
easily perceived that neither the extravagant forms of ex- 
pression, with >\hich Servetus had coloured the heresy of 
Paul of Samosata, nor the confusion of the Persons with the 

* See Rees* Cyclopedia, Art. Henry II. of France. 

1558 LIFE OF CALVIN. 189 

Essence of God, introduced by Sabellius, nor yet the ficti- 
tious divinity of Christ, taught by Arius, could be recon- 
ciled with the word of God. He perceived also, that what 
thes criptures teach concerning one Essence, and three distinct 
Persons, did not fall within the comprehension of the human 
understanding. He proceeded, as is usual with such specu- 
lative minds, to reject the i\'isdom of God ; and to substitute 
that which he conceived to be more agreeable to human 
reason. Unwilling to receive the truth upon the divine tes- 
timony, and leave the mystery Avith God, he boldly attri- 
buted the supreme m/thoriti/, monarchia, to the Person of the 
Father, whom he Avould have to be the only and alone 
avTo$ee»^ sovereign God. He openly avov»Td the Essentia- 
tion, that is, the propagation of Essence, and as there were 
three Persons, so there must be of course three Essences, that 
is, three Gods, eternal, omnipotent and immense. To support 
his notions, he not only wrested the scriptures, and perverted 
their testimony, which establishes the facts on this mysterious 
subject ; but also the authority of the Council of Nice, and 
of those ancient fathers, Ignatius, Tertullian, Ireneus and Lac- 
tantius. He aifected to despise the orthodox writers who 
lived after the Council of Nice, and accused them of impie- 
ty, for supporting the doctrine of the triune unity of the 

Gentilis commenced the propagation of his opinions secret- 
ly, under the pretence of discussion and enquiry, among a 
few persons ; of this number were John Paul Alciat, a Mi- 
lanese, and George Blandrata, a Physician of Salusses. The 
Consistory of the Italian Church in Geneva, being informed 
that some members were infected with his heresy, called a 
special meeting. An examination Avas held in the presence 
of sOme selected Senators, the Ministers and Church Elders. 
They patiently heard the arguments in favour of the here- 
sy. These were refuted by Calvin from the testioiony of 


the scriptures ; and the question was so well settled, that all 
the Italians, excepting six, readily subscribed the articles of 
the Genevese confession of faith on the 18th of May, 1558. 
The six, who at first refused, were after^vards called sepa- 
rately, and subscribed the confession, Ijut not ^vith sir^yefity. 
Gentilis, notwithstanding his avo^ved retraction, stiil propaga- 
ted his Inventions, and being again arraigned, he defended 
his opinions before the Consistory. Being confuted and con^ 
founded by Calvin, he dissembled very deep repentance, and 
abjured his errours in all the publick places of the city. Up- 
on his promise under oath, not to leave Geneva, he was dis- 
missed. But regardless of this obligation, he soon after fled 
to Gribauld, in Savoy, and was followed by Alciat and Bland- 
rata. The two latter, not being esteemed by the others as 
men of science, retired into Transylvania, and for several 
years propagated their pernicious opinions in that and the 
neighbouring countries. Gentilis and Gribauld, by their 
united labours, forged a work against the Trinity, in which 
they reproached the sentiments of Athanasius and of Cal- 
vin. They procured the publication of this at Lyons, with 
a dedication to the Bailiff of Gex, who was totally ignorant 
of their sentiments. While at Lyons, Gentilis was seized 
by the Popish inquisition, on account of the heretical senti- 
ments contained in his book. He exemplified the looseness 
of his principles, m his method of avoiding the punishment 
^^ith which he was threatened by the Papists. He persuad- 
ed them that he had only written against Calvin, and on 
this account they dismissed him as a man who had deserv- 
ed well of the Catholick Church. Gentilis eventually en- 
trusted himself in the hands of the Bailiff of Gex, and re- 
quested the privilege of a publick disputation in defence of 
his principles. He made the challenge on the condition, that 
whoever failed of supporting his opinion should forfeit his 
head, and if the challenge wa«: not accepted, he was to be 

1558 LIFE OF CALVIN. 191 

declared as a person holding orthodox and pious sentiments, 
concerning the most high God, and his Son Jesus Christ.# 
The BailiiT of Gex, pleased with the opportunity of having 
the man in his power, who had imposed upon him by the 
dedication of his work, caused him to be apprehended and 
committed to prison. He was at length sent to Bern, to de- 
fend himself concerning his errours. Here he was duly tri- 
ed, and convicted of perjury and publick impiety in renew- 
ing his attack upon the Truiity. All means having failed of 
bringing him to renounce his errours, he was sentenced and 
beheaded September 9, 156G. 

The quartan fever had continued its attacks upon Calvin 
for eight months, and reduced him to a state of debility 
from which he did not afterwards recover. At the request 
of his Physicians and friends, he omitted his publick sermons 
and lectures in theology, but still devoted day and night, 
in dictating and writing letters. He would often say, Hoiv 
unpleasant to me is an idle life I Notwithstanding the ex- 
postulations of his friends to take care of his health, he this 
year prepared the last edition of his favourite work. The In- 
stitutes of the Christian Religion, In his preface he says, 
" I proposed to myself, in this edition, to provide a way in 
which the students of sacred theology might advance with 
an uninterrupted step in the study of the scriptures. I think 
I have so embraced the substance of religion in all its parts, 
and digested it in such order, that the mind which under- 
stands this may, without difficulty, determine what the scrip- 
tures principally teach, and what is the grand object of all 
the counsels and examples which they contain. All doctrmes 
and duties are comprehended in this compendium. The or- 
der of these Institutes appears distinctly in all my Commen- 
taries as the image in a glass." 

* See Bavle, Ait. Gentilis. 


The following are the principal editions of the Institutes 
during the life of the author : — 

First edition, A. D. 1535, at Basil.^ 

Second edition, 1539, at Strasburg, enlarged, the 

edition which Pighius attacked. 

Third edition, 1543, at Strasburg, corrected and 


Fourth edition, 1544, at Strasburg, revised. 

Fifth edition, 1545, at Geneva, enlarged. 

Sixth edition, 1550, at Geneva, revised, and his 

Catechism subjoined. 

Seventh edition, 1559, at Geneva, perfected both in 

Latin and French, and divided into four books. 

So numerous were the editions of this distinguished work, 
that it is not possible to speak with exactness concerning 
their order. It was very soon, after its first pul^lication, 
translated into French, and passed tlirough many editions be- 
fore the author completed it in that language in 1559. No 
addition was made after this time by the author. Marloret 
added two indices. 

Calvin revised at this time his distinguished Commentary 
on Isaiah. Galasius performed the part of an Amanuensis, 
as Calvin's feeble state of body would not admit of his per- 
forming the labour of writing it himself. This work, which 
was first dedicated to Edward VI. he now dedicated to 
Queen Ehzabeth. He dated it Jan. 15, 1559, the day he 
says on which report stated that she was crowned. 

Peter Martyr was now Minister and Professor at Zurich, 
On hearing of Calvin's illness, he wrote him the subsequent 
fetter : — 

* See Bayle, Art. Scliuitini^iuj, 

1558 LIFE OF CALVIN. 193 

" Martyr to Calvin, gives salutation. 

" My illQstrious Friend, I was neither surprised nor offend- 
ed tliat when you wrote, a few days since, to BuUinger, you 
did not also write to me, for which you wished him to apo- 
logize. I was before that very much afflicted to hear, that 
you were sick, and dangerously so. My anxiety is not now 
diminished, since you inform us that you are labouring un- 
der the quartan ague. I could say much of the stubborn- 
ness of this disease, and its peculiar obstinacy against medi- 
cines and Physicians, having twice struggled with it myself. 
The sum of the matter is, that those who are in tliis situa- 
tion have need of great and persevering patience, which you 
would not otherwise have occasion to use, nor to pray for, as 
your mind is abundantly stored with that grace by the Spirit 
of Christ. But I have, in common with many others, two 
reasons to lament this sickness : one is, that you yourself are 
distressed, your health being broken, and your constitution 
debilitated ; which can not be otherwise, especially as your 
body is already almost exhausted with labours. The otlier 
is, that your official labours and writings will be interrupted, 
to the great detriment of all the friends of Clirist. There is 
nothing so injurious to a person labouring under this disease 
as study and anxiety. These things extremely afflict not on- 
ly me, but truly all the pious. However, since it is so, it is 
our duty, with all possible earnestness, in our prayers, to sup- 
plicate that you may speedily be restojed to yom* former 
health. It is also your duty, to abstain, with the strictest 
care and attention, from those things which are pernicious to 
yourself, especially from close study and anxiety about any 
weighty concerns ; for by these the humour of the black bile, 
from which the fever is inflamed, is so excited and agitated, 
that it fastens on the very marrow of the bones. It is vastly 


194 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1558 

more desirable, that you should rest a few days or months, 
gmce so it seemeth good unto God, than either that you should 
die, to the greatest grief of tlie good, which may God avert, 
or that you should live, while life only remains in a feeble bo- 
dy and with a mind quite debilitated, to the unspeakable loss 
of the Church. See therefore that you neither sin against 
yourself, nor against the Church of Christ. 

" Messengers arrived here yesterday from the English No- 
bles who reside at Frankfort. They bring hiformation, that 
their i^ueen died on the KSth of Nov,; and that the illustrious 
Elizabeth had succeeded to the Crown, with the fullest appro- 
bation of the Lords and Commons, who had at this time provi- 
dentially assembled from all parts of England, in Council, or 
a^ they commonly term it, in Parliament. "W^e must now en- 
treat God, that this change of affairs may be turned to the 
honour of the name of Christ and his holy Gospel. In this duty, 
I am confident, that you and your Church will not be want- 
ing. The time is perhaps arrived, when in that kingdom the 
walls of Jerusalem shall be rebuilt, and God shall witness 
that the blood of so many i\Iartyrs has not been shed in vain. 
I have no other news, except that my book is now in the press, 
in which I have detected and refuted, concerning the Eu- 
charist, all the sophistry and artful fallacies of Stephen Gard- 
ner formerly Bishop of Winchester. This work, I trust, will 
come abroad most seasonably ; for it is of special importance 
at this time, that the Papists should understand, that Gard- 
ner's book is not so invincible as they have hitherto boasted. 
Farewell, and may you long, very long, live to Christ and to 
his Church. Salute, in my name, your fellow Ministers, and 
also Beza and the Marquis. 

" Yours wholly, 


" Zurich, December 1." 

1559 LIFE OF CALVIN. 195 

On the 3d of April, 1559, the peace of Chateau-Cambre- 
sis was concluded between Ferdinand, King of Spain, and 
Henry II., of France. One of the articles stipulated, that 
the two Kings should act in concert, to procure a general 
Council, for the purpose of reforming tlie Church, and esta- 
blishing the order of religion. Taking advantage of the 
Aveakness of Henry, the Papists concerted a plan to destroy 
the city of Geneva. This they expected would break up 
the fountain head of the Reformation in France. The King 
was influenced to enact the most severe law^s against the ad- 
herents to the pure doctrines. Some of the Senators urged 
forbearance and mildness in religious matters, till the gene- 
ral Council should be convened. These were imprisoned by 
the King's order. The first step towards their purpose, for 
destroying Geneva, was to restore to the Duke the ancient 
territory of Savoy. During this period, Calvin, though very 
feeble in body, continued his labours, and confirmed the 
afilicted Churches and Brethren in the Faith.# But amidst 
the distresses and anxieties of the Reformers, that God, who 
holds the breath of Kings in his hand, answered the prayers 
of his people, and dissipated their fears. It was stipulated 
in the treaty of Chateau, that Philip should marry the daugh- 
ter of Henry. At the celebration of the nuptials, the King of 
France received a mortal wound in a tournament, from the 
splinter of a lance which pierced one of his eyes. This wound 
was given by the hand of the Prefect of the royal guards, who 
had, by the King's order, seized and imprisoned those Senators 
who pleaded for moderation in religious matters. Thus, in a 
moment, the face of things was changed ; and the Papists were 
defeated in their purposes against Geneva. Amies du Bourge, 
a distinguished Counsellor, was one of those who were imprison- 
ed for urging to moderate measures in the religious affairs of 
the kingdom. Against him the King was, at that time, so 

* Kpl3t. Crilvlni, Anno 1559. 

196 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1559 

highly enraged, that he declared, that both his eyes should 
see that man burnt at the stake. Henry made this declara- 
tion June 10, and received the wound in his eye, and died sud- 
denly July 10, 1539. Cardinal Lorrain, who had a dominant 
influence over Henry in the concerns of the Church, having 
been defeated in forming a new Inquisition oi three Cardinals, 
by the Senators of Paris, was violently enraged against du 
Bourge. By his influence, this excellent man was burnt at 
Paris, December 18, 1559.# 

Calvin, in the conclusion of his letter to Ambrose Blau- 
rer, details the facts relative to the apprehension and exe- 
cution of Annes du Bourge» 

" Calvin to BlaureR. 

■ ' " I reluctantly mentit)n the state of 

France, because it is turbulent, mournful and calamitous. 
You have been informed, I suppose, that the King, hear- 
ing that a good part of the Senate of Paris were inclined 
to treat our brethren with more mildness, at the solicita- 
tion of the Cardinal, repaired to the Senate-room, and de- 
manded their opinions. When some had determined, that 
the cruelties were too atrocious, although they shewed them'' 
selves uhfavom-able to the cause, one fi'eely and resolutely 
took upon himself the patronage of the cause, and did not 
hesitate to expose himself to the severe displeasure of the 
King. It appeared to Henry insuflferable, that the Coun- 
sellors should not be awed by his presence. Giving him- 
self up to extreme impetuosity, he ordered this Senator to 
prison. Six hours after, six other Senators were confined ; 
although these had, by their moderation and even dissem- 
l>ling, betrayed the doctrine of salvation. Some were de- 

* See Dupin, vol. 6, book 6, chap. 13, p. 164, and chap. 11, p. 153 ; 
and Bayle, Art. Henry H. 

1560 LIFE OF CALVIN. 19r 

nrived of their rank ; others were lined ; and one held in 
prison. This one, against whom the Kine? was enraged, was 
lately burnt. Even tlie enemies say, that lie was in all re- 
spects an excellent man. He possessed an amia]>le disposi- 
tion and a strong judgment, and was uncommonly versed 
in the science of jurisprudence. He was a man of singular 
probity. His humanity recommended liis other virtues, lie 
was the grandson of Chancellor du Bourgc. His brothers 
had raised him, against his will, to that office, when he was 
more desirous of a private life. The respectability and dig- 
nity of the man held the judges a long time in suspense. 
They were at length forced, by the authority of the Cardi- 
nal, to give him up to punishment. When the cruel sen- 
tence Avas pronounced. That he should be burnt alive, he pros- 
trated himself on the earth, and gave thanks to God, nho had 
distinguished him nith so great honour, that he should suffer 
for the defence of the eternal truth. He awaited death for 
four hours with a cheerful countenance. When he came to 
the place of execution, though surrounded by four hundred 
guards, he was observed to pull off his cloak and his coat, 
as if he were willingly retiring to sleep. But as the execu- 
tioner cast a cord about his neck, he told him there was no 
need of that, as he was to be burnt, according to custom, 
with a slow fire. The executioner answered, that he was 
ordered otherwise ; that by strangling him he might dimi- 
nish the torture. He had now made his last prayer ; howe- 
ver, again falling upon his knees, he gave thanks to God. 
Half a month has elapsed since his dedh. IMany others, 
since that time, have l)een Imrnt. Every moment new tcr- 
rours are heaped upon us. I wish, from these examples, 
we may well learn A\hat is the life of man upon the earth ; 
that I may especially, whose dulness cannot be too much 
nroused. Farewell. 
*• January, 15G0." 

198 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1560 

During the period and the very moment, when those pow- 
erful Princes were conspiring for the destruction of Geneva, 
the inhabitants of that city, under tiie iniiuence of Calvin, 
were raising splendid buildings for a puljlick seminary. The 
College was instituted in Septeml^er, with eight Preceptors 
for youths, and several Professors of Hebrew and Greek, Phi- 
losophy and Divinity. It was dedicated to the most High 
and Holy God, in the full assembly of the people, at which 
time the object of its institution, and the laws by which it 
was to be governed, were publickly read. Calvin retained 
the Professorship of Divinity, and Theodore Beza was induct- 
ed into the office of President. 

Francis II. Avho succeeded his father, was under the influ- 
ence of the Duke of Guise and his brother. Cardinal Lor- 
rain. He was young, weak in constitution, and feeble in 
mind. By the intrigues of ambitious men, his reign was dis- 
tinguished for violence and disorder. The foundation was 
now laid for those civil and religious contentions which so 
long afflicted the Reformed Churches of France. The burn- 
ing of Annes du Bourge was followed by a more extensive 
persecution of the Calviniits. The King appointed Presidi- 
al Courts, which had power to try only cases of this sort. 
" They condemned to the flames, without mercy, all those 
who were convicted of the new religion." The Reformers 
were now become very numerous in Fralice, and many distin- 
guished men and noble families favoured the pure doctrines 
and worship. The Prince of Conde was the head,# and Co- 
ligni the strong arm of their party. They sought, by every 
means of address and most humble petition, to obtain liberty 
of conscience, and security in their religious assemblies. Their 
eflbrts were of no avail ; the restrictions upon them were in- 
creased ; their cup was rendered more bitter ; and at length 
they injudiciously concerted a plan to defend themselves by 

* See Dupin, cent. 16, book 4, p. 398, 599, and book 3, p. 164. 

1500 LIFE OF CALVIN. 199 

force. TJie contests between the Papists and Reformers at 
Amboise were violent. Calvin was accused of having excited 
the leaders of these tumults openly to oppose the orders of the 
King. In his letter to Bullinger, dated May 11, 1560, he 
says that he interposed his authority, to prevent the attempts 
to redress themselves l^y force. In his letter to Ambrose 
Blaurer, of the 2rth of May, he fully exposes the Avickedness 
and impolicy of such attempts to obtain redress. He had, 
from the first of his knowledge of their plans, opposed them, 
and predicted the evils that would follow. Some however at 
Geneva it seems encouraged the conspiracy at Amboise, who 
were resolved upon appearing armed before the King, and 
demanding liberty of conscience, and the removal of the 
Guises from the government. At this time also, Geneva was 
openly threatened with invasion. Calvin, w riting on the sub- 
ject, observes, " I cannot be persuaded of this danger ; yet if 
greater dangers should press us we will quietly wait the event, 
relying on the protection of God. Whatever shall happen, 
our heavenly father will turn it to our salvation ; and in 
shewing mercy to us, will have respect to the good of the 
whole church." At the close of this letter he informs Blau- 
rer, that he dictated it from his bed, " where, according to 
my custom, I lie down one half of my time, that I may be 
able to improve with more strength the remaining hours." 

In consequence of the commotions which were excited in 
Provence, Languedoc and other places, the King called a 
Council to be holden at Fontainbleau, about thirty-five miles 
from Paris, on the 2Gth of August 15G0. The following let- 
ter details the transactions of this Council. 

"Calvin to Bullinger, wishes health. 

** All the Nobles were lately assembled at Fontainbleau, 
a place less than two days journey from Paris. A certaiti 

200 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1560 

Cardinal was present, who is either a wine cask or a flaggon, 
for he certainl}^ bears not the figure of a man. The Guises 
thought, that the splendour of this convention would be 
greatly increased if they assembled, from all parts, as many 
as possible of the purple habited Knights, who boast them- 
selves of the order of St. Michael. Thirty made their ap- 
pearance when before there were only twelve. The Chancel- 
lor said much in extolling the illustrious Senate, in whom re* 
sided all the authority of the kingdom. This introduction 
was a piece of gross flatter3\ He afterwards discoursed upon 
the state of the kingdom ; and observed that since there was 
need of remedies to cure the diseases, the cause of the evils 
must be investigated. Here he ended his speech as if, desti- 
tute of counsel, he would implore the aid of Physicians. The 
King designedly asked the opinion of the Bishop of Valence, 
who was among the lowest Counsellors. The Guises were anx- 
ious to awaken the private feelings of all, and that every one 
should be suddenly attacked, as should appear best for theu' 
purpose. The Admiral arose, contrary to their expectation, 
and handed the king a petition in which those Avho desired the 
pure worship of God in Normandy requested, that they should 
be permitted to meet in the day time, that they might avoid 
the various calumnies, to which they were exposed horn the 
circumstance of their being obliged to hold secret and nightly 
meetings. He was asked from whom he obtained the petition. 
He answered, that he had been anxious for the publick good, 
and to know more fully what the Reformers desired : That 
there were fifty thousand men whose subscription might be 
obtained if it should please the King. Coligni and the Arch- 
bishop of Vienne were the only two who spoke on this subject 
with energy. These things being heard by the Council, the 
greater part of whom were silent voters, the Duke «f Guise 
fully vented himself in a manner that would have been in- 
tolerable any where else. Take an instance of his stupidity. 

1560 LIFE OF CALVIN. 201 

When the Admiral said, that he was not pleased with the 
barbarian custom, that the King should be surrounded by an 
army instead of being protected by his body guards ; that 
this education was not worthy of France, as the young King 
ought not to be brought up in the habit of guarding him- 
self against his subjects, as though he was in fear of those, 
whose favour he ought to secure and cherish by his good 
will ; the Duke answered, that the king did not need nurs- 
es and foster-fathers, inasmuch as he is educated in the plen- 
itude of his own virtue, (I repeat his very words,) that if he 
is to be instructed, his mother is sufticient for this oflice. He 
boldly said also, that whatever a thousand Councils might 
decree, he ^\ as determined to follow the institutions of his 
ancestors. His brother, the Cardinal Lorrain, was more 
grave and prudent. He said it was in vain to ask from Coun- 
cils for any change in doctrines ; that it was unlawful to call 
into controversy Avhat had before come from the Holy Spirit ; 
and that if there were corruptions in morals, the Bishops 
ought to be permitted to correct them fully. He was fretted 
by what the Archbishop of Vienne said, that it was a re- 
proach, and a shameful sign of confusion, that Bishops should 
leave their Churches, to follow the Courts of Princes ; and by 
his entreating the King with much earnestness, that the 
Churches should not be deprived of their Pastors, under the 
vain pretext of the publick good. Hence this rule was 
adopted, that no one should be bound by law or necessity, 
to attend the Court, but each one should act as he pleased. — 
You ask, what was the result ? The Archbishop of Vienne 
retired home. After four or five days were consumed in 
vain consultations, it was determined, that there should be a 
meeting of the States in the month of December. The 
Bishops are summoned to meet on the 20th of January, not 
to decree any thing, ])ut to consider what is to be proposed 
fo the Conncil. They had hitherto obstinately opposed a 


202 LIFE OF CALYIN. 1560 

meeting of the States ; and they have now cunningly contriv- 
ed to elude the hopes of those who expected some alleviation 
of their evils from this assembly. This exception is added, 
That each Province shall examine, before its own Prefects, 
what business it is expedient to treat of in the Council. 
This affords no liberty at all ; as they must choose their de- 
puties under the direction of those Governours. Those flat- 
terers therefore will attend, who are purchased and nominat- 
ed by the Prefect. How frivolous and trifling this ostensible 
Council is, you may easily learn from the formula of the edict 
which convenes it, whicli some one of your friends will inter- 
pret to you. In the mean time the truth of the Gospel is 
breaking forth. In Normandy, our brethren now preach 
publickly, for private houses will not contain three or four 
thousand men. In Poictiers, Saintonge, and in all Aqui- 
taine, they enjoy greater liberty. Languedoc, Provence and 
Dauphine have many intrepid disciples of Christ. A^'hy the 
Cardinal ceases, he has clearly professed, That he may in a 
short time detect the impudence of the Fanaticks. But the 
Lord, I hope, will not only bring to light his wicked pur- 
poses, but also dissipate his impious endeavours. Fare- 
well, most respected man and highly esteemed brother. — 
May the Lord always preserve all yours in health, &c. 
« Geneva, October 1, 1560." 

The opinion of Osiander, that man was justified by the es- 
sential righteousness of God, was at this time controverted by 
Francis Stancarus, Professor at Koningsburg. Of a warm 
and zealous mind, he pursued the other extreme, and main- 
tained, that Jesus Christ is Mediator only according to his 
human nature. His opinion was condemned as heretical by 
several Synods, and confuted by Melancthon, and by Peter 
Martyr. The Churches of Poland however, being much 
disturbed by these disputes, made application to the Consis- 


lory of Geneva for their opinion. Calvin addressed a letter 
to the Poles, and in a short admonition exposed the fallacy 
and pernicious nature of this errour. He also guarded 
thera against the heresy of the Tritheists, as defended ])y 
Blandrata and his adherents. He la])oured to confirm them 
in the belief, that Christ was IMediator in both nat ures, with- 
out multiplying his divinity.* 

The United Brethren, commonly called W'aldenses, who 
had retired into Bohemia, to enjoy liberty of worship, and 
purity of doctrines, addressed a letter to Calvin by two of 
their number. In consequence of the disputes in the Po- 
lanese Churches, they hesitated a])out extending to them the 
right hand of fellowship. They also had some difficulty 
among themselves, as to the Lord's Supper, as their confession 
asserted, that the bread and wine were the true body of 
Christ. Calvin replied to them, that it was their duty to as- 
sist the Polanese ; and so much the more, as they, in common 
with other Churches, were labouring under difficulties among 
themselves ; and were at the same time surrounded by the 
enemies of the pure doctrines. Speaking of the Augsburg 
Confession, he says, " We know, how plausible the conduct 
of those is, who, under the cover of the Augsljurg Confession,f 
taking their peace and quietness, escape troubles and hatreds 
and even the cross itsel f. But what the author himself, Plii- 
lip IMelancthon, thought on this point, is no secret with you ; 
and perhaps the improbity of those j)crsons, who endeavour 
to draw obscurity over the clearest light, may compel us to 

• See Calvini Opuscula p. 587. Amst. Ed. 

f This was the first publick confession of faith by the Protestants of 
Germany. It was drawn up by Mclancthon, ;ijul presented to tlic P'mpc- 
rour, Charles V. in the Diet of Augsburg-, June 25, 1530. The confession 
contains 28 cliapters, 21 of which are employed in staling- the opinions of 
the Protestants, on the great points of doctrine. Tlie 7 hist are an exhibi- 
tion of tlie erronrp and abuses of the Romisli Church. Mosb. vol. 3 p rv71- 

20]i LIFE OF CALVIN. 1500 

make it known to the world. Nor yet, although we reverent- 
ly cherish the memory of Melancthon, do we rest upon his 
authority for confuting our adversaries ; but we Avould only 
show how unjustly they cover themselves with the Augsburg 
Confession, whose opinions are totally foreign from the mind 
of its author." — In his letter to the Polish Princes, in 1557, 
which was the ground of this application from the United 
Brethren, Calvin says, " A part, as we hear, embrace the 
Augsburg Confession ; others tenaciously retain the doctrine 
of the Waldenses ; and others desire a pure and more simple 
explanation of the mystery. As to the Augsburg Confession, 
there is no just reason, why the servants of Christ should 
contend among themselves, only let the genuine sense be 
agreed upon." In his letter to Schalinger, Pastor of Frank- 
fort, Calvin says, " I do not reject the Augsburg Confession? 
which I long since subscribed, volens ac libens, rvillingly and 
freely^ as the author himself explained it." The same dispo- 
sition to cherish union and peace, which induced Calvin to 
subscribe the Augsburg Confession himself, influenced him to 
say to the Polish Princes, " That in unity of faith and agree- 
ment among brethren, consisted the prosperity of the Church." 
On the same principle, he urges the A\^aldenses to cherish a 
mutual agreement with other Churches, as they all had one 
Father in heaven, and were all united in one body under 
Christ, the head ; and that the best bond, to cherish and pre- 
tcrve concord among brethren was not to admit, with too 
easy credulity, unfavourable reports about each other. ^' 

In consequence of the persecutions in France, during the 
reigns of Henry and Francis, many of the French Fteformers 
took refuge in England, under tlie protection of Queen Eliza- 
beth. From motives of policy, the English Coml gave assis- 
tance to the Prince of Conde, and his party, in their contests 

' In Epist. Calvini p. 113, 115, et p. \^B. Amst. Edit. 

1560 LIFE OF CALVIN. 205 

with the Guises, to secure the toleration of their principles and 
worship. By dividing the French at home, they prevented 
them from affordhig that aid to Mary, Queen of Scotland, 
which might have enabled her to maintain and csta])Iiii-h her 
claims to the dominion of that country. # jMen and money 
were furnished by Elizabeth to the Reformers in France, and 
those ^^ ho emigrated to England were kindly received, and 
tolerated in that form of worshij), which she was at this time* 
assisting their brethren at home to establish. Under such 
circumstances, the Pres!)yterian form of w orsliip w^as introdu- 
ced and tolerated in England. By the direction of Edmund 
Grindal, Bishop of London, the emigrants ^vrote to Calvin to 
send them a JMinister, who should establish a Church uj)on 
the same principles of doctrine and order of worship m ith 
the Genevese. Nicholas Gallasius came to London for that 
purpose. Grindal and other distinguished characters at 
Court procured for them the Church of St. Anthony near 
merchant taylor's hall.f By Gallasius, Cahin wrote to 

" Calvin to t]ie Bisnor of London. 

« Most excellent and revered Sir, although you do not ex 
pect that 1 should give you thanks, for the pious services you 
have rendered the Church of Christ, yet I should accuse liiy- 
self of unreasonable ingratitude, if I .should not acknowledge 
myself under obligation to you, for so respectfully taking up- 
on yourself the care of our people, who reside in the chitf 
city of your diocese ; not only that, througli ihQ favour of 
the Queen, liberty is given them of the pm-e worship of God, 
but also that they might call from tiiis city a LilUihil Vaster. 
But since you have cheerfully, of your own accord, ask^'d 

* See Burnet's liist. Uefonn. Anno. Ij -TO. 
t See llcvUn, Hist ric*bvt. p. 217. 

206 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1560 

and exhorted me to be careful to chuse a proper Pastor for 
them, I need not recommend to your protection and patron- 
age those for whose welfare I sec you arc so anxious. As you 
hive testified already your rare and singular love of piety, in 
assisting them so liberally, so it will be the part of your con- 
stancy to continue your favour towards them to the end. Re- 
specting ourselves, as the situation appeared to demand a 
man of the most excellent gifts, and your guests expressly 
wished us to send them some one of our connection, we pre- 
fcned rather to deprive ourselves, than not to accommodate 
them according to their pious request. We have yielded to 
them accordingly, our brother Nicholas Gallasius, one of the 
three whom they at first named. It is with regret, that he 
suffers himself to be torn from us, by whom he knows himself 
to be greatly beloved. He leaves this place with reluctance, 
where his labours have been no less fruitful than faithful ; 
yet overcome by your exhortations, he has accepted of this 
office, hoping that he might be of more extensive service m 
enlarging the kingdom of Christ. Necessity alone obliges us 
to dismiss him; as we feared that without his presence, 
sufficient provision would not be made for that tender and 
yet unsettled Church. His departure is no small loss to this 
place, where he is held in high estimation, and where he has 
always conducted as becomes a servant of Christ. To me 
he is a dear and familiar friend ; and I could not consent to 
his departure without severe sorrow. But any thing is to 
be suffered to accommodate our destitute and persecuted 
brethren, with the assistance they so anxiously request. On 
this account, I am the more solicitous that he may find his 
situation with you so agreeable as to lighten his burdens and 
.olacc him under the trials arising from this change of resi- 
dence. When, by your kindness, he shall be more intimately 
luiown to you, I trust, Reverend Sir, that you will find h.m 
cifficientlv amiable without the recommendations of others. 

1500 LIFE OF CAI.VIN. 207 

And now, if I have any interest in your favour, I entreat you 
again and again, to continue your kindness and benevolence 
to one to "whom you see me so strongly attached. 1 am sin- 
cerely grieved, that the Churches throughout the kingdom 
are not yet so quietly settled as all good men wished, and 
had at first expected. To overcome obstacles, indefatigable 
exertions are required. It is now expedient, and therefore 
the Queen ought to know it, that you should willingly dis- 
miss, nay even reject whatever savours of earthly domination ; 
that it may ]>e evident that your authority is lawful, and 
that it is given you of God to exercise your spiritual func- 
tions. This will be her true excellency and majesty. Then 
she will hold, under Christ the head, the highest degree of 
dignity, if she stretch forth her supporting hand to the law- 
ful Pastors, to enable you to fulfil the duties which are en- 
joined upon you. But as your prudence neither requires ad- 
vice, nor your magnanimity excitements, I will only have re- 
course to prayers, and entreat the Lord, most excellent and 
revered Sir, to govern you w ith his Spirit, sustain you with 
his strength, defend you with his shield, and bless your holy 
labom-s. My colleagues respectfully salute you. 
" Geneva, May 15, 1560." 

The violent measures of Francis had driven the Reformers 
Tn his kingdom almost to despair of their cause. But while 
the prospect was still darkening, and severer persecutions 
were expected to follow the meeting of the three Estates at Me- 
lun in December, Francis died suddenly on the 5th of that 
month. This event relieved them from their immediate ap- 
prehensions ; and they subsequently found seasons of enlarge- 
ment and comparative repose. 

Francis II. was succeeded by his brother Charles IX. at 
the age of ten years. Scarcely had this child mounted the, 
tluronc when letters, Avritten iu his name, were brought to Gt- 


neva by a herald, in w hich he complained, that persons from 
that city were exciting disturbances in his kingdom. He de- 
manded that they sliould be immediately recalled, or Jie 
should not pass over such a just cause of revenge. Calvin, 
being summoned by the Senate, answered in his own name, 
and in that of his colleague?, that at the request of the 
French Churches, they had sent men of sound faith and holy 
life, well qualified to assist them in regulating their Churches, 
and defending the sacred cause ; that they had done this, 
not to disturb the kingdom, but to promote the Gospel of 
peace ; and that if any other accusations were made against 
them, he and his colleagues were ready to answer their accu- 
sers before the King. This business was proceeded in no 
farther, as the management of alTairs in France fell into the 
hands of the King's mother, Catherine de Medicis, who held 
the regency. 

In September, Calvin dedicated his Pr^electiones on Daniel 
to all the pious norshippcrs of God, who were labouring to 
build the Church of Christ in France, He affectionately ad- 
dressed his countrymen, reminding them that although he 
had been twenty-six years in a foreign city, he had not been 
unmindful of their welfare ; that he had assisted their 
Churches by his publick labours, and by his private exertions 
had endeavoured to awaken the drows}-, to stimulate the 
slothful, to encourage the fearful, and to strengthen the wa- 
vering to perseverance ; that at this critical moment, he ded- 
icated to them his Lectures on the Prophecy of Daniel, to 
give them new strength from the ancient examples of faitli 
and constancy, that they might not be disheartened amidst 
the storms and tempests which so violently assailed them. 
And altliougli at no period, had the prospects of the reformed 
Churches in France been so promising, yet Calvin, as with a 
prophetick voice, declares to them, that contests and trials, far 
more srvrre than they apprehended, awaited them. 

1561 LIFE OF CALVIN. 209 

The conference at Poissy between the Romish Prelates and 
the reformed Ministers was now in session. In this assem- 
bly Beza presented to Charles IX. the confession of faith 
adopted by the French Churches. " This was the confes- 
sion," says Mr. Quick in his Synodicon, " which was drawn 
up by the Rev. IMr. Calvin, and was owned in their first na- 
tional Synod held at Paris, in the year 1559, and presented 
unto Francis II. first at Amboise^ in behalf of all the profes- 
sors of the reformed religion in that kingdom ; afterwards 
to Charles IX. at the conference of Foissy. It was a se- 
cond time presented to Charles ; and at length published by 
the Pastors of the French Churches, with a preface to all 
other evangelical Pastors, in the year 1566. It was also 
most solemnly ratified in the national Synod, held the first 
time at Rochell, 1571, the year before the massacre of Bar- 
tholomew ; and signed by Jane, ^ueen of Navarre, Henri/, 
Prince of Beam, Henri/ de Bourbon, Prince of Conde, Lewis, 
Count of Nassau, and Sir Gaspard de Coligni, Lord High 
Admiral of France."# 

Among the many distinguished persons of the Reformers, 
who were present at the conference of Poissy, were Theodore 
Beza from Geneva, Peter Martyr from Zurich, and Nicholas 
Gallasius from the reformed Church in London. The let- 
ters which Beza wrote to Calvin, during his continuance in 
France, afi[brd a very interesting account of the transactions of 
the conference, and the disordered state of religious matters 
in that kingdom. f 

During its sessions at Poissy, Francis Baldwin, a Lawyer, 
who had several times changed sides in his avowed religious 
opinions, being suborned by Cardinal Lorrain, oSered for 
sale in the palace a book in w hich, under the mask of modera- 
tion, the corruptions of Popery were artfully defended. Cal- 

* Quick'g Synodicon vol. 1, p. 15. -f ^" Epist. Calvini. 


210 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1562 

vin, being informed by Beza of this circumstance, immedi- 
ately wrote an answer, in which he exposed both the decep- 
tion of the work, and the character of Baldwin.# 

In the month of January, 1562, was pubhshed the first 
edict which had given any tolerance to the reformed Church- 
es. Notwithstanding all the persecutions they had suifered, 
the number of them had increased to tivo thousand one hun- 
dred andjifty.-\ After the adoption of the confession of faith 
drawn up by Calvin, they were by degrees designated by the 
term Calvhiistick ; and their doctrines, by their enemies, 
were termed Calvinism. 

The Duke of Guise, the leader of the Popish party, being 
at Vassi in Champaign, his attendants " picked a quarrel" 
with the reformed who Avere assembled in their meeting- 
house, " sn)ging psalms, and fell upon and killed near sixty, 
and wounded near two hundred." The civil animosities and 
the wars which followed upon this outrage, committed 
against the edict of the King, continued till march 1563. 

These contentions were extremely distressing to Calvin, who 
was now considered as the father of the French Churches. 
His bodily infirmities were increased by his constant labours 
in writing, dictating, and discharging still not only his own 
official duties, but also those of the President of the College, 
in the absence of Beza. The doctrine of the French Church- 
es being openly attacked, and also secretly defamed to the 
German Princes, by the Papists of France, Calvin, in the 
name of the Prince of Conde, drew up a concise account of 
their confession of faith, which was presented to the states of 

* Calvlnl Opuscula, p. 304, Arnst. edit. Responsio ad Versipellem, &c. 
The propriety of this appellation will appear from the fact stated by Anto- 
nius Guerinius in his letter to Baldwin, You have changedyour religion seven 
times -within these txventyyearS) Septies his vlginti annis religionem mutasti. 
Bayle Art. Baudouin. Notes. 

t Dupin 16 cent. B. 3, p. 190, B. 4, p. 400. 

1563 LIFE OF CALVIN. ^ ^11 

the Empire, at Frankfort, as a vindication from those calum- 

Premonitory impressions are to be received with caution. 
The busy and fantastick power of imagination, especially in 
a disordered body, may lead to visionary apprehensions 
which are by no means to be regarded as tlie premonitions 
of Providence. But to reject all statements of this kind, is 
contradicting the experience of some, and the belief of others, 
sanctioned by the testimony of corresponding events. On 
the IWi of December, which was the Sabbath, the wind 
having been unusually high for two days, and Calvin con- 
fined to his bed, to a number of his friends Avho were with 
him, he says, / knoiv not what it i^, but I have thought that I 
heard a warlike sound of drums through the night. I was not 
able to persuade myself that it jvas a delusion. I beseech 
you, let us pray, for something of great moment has taken place. 
In a few days, the news of the battle of Dreux, which ^vas 
fought between the Prince of Conde and the Duke of Guise, 
on the IWi of December, reciched Geneva ; the issue of 
which was unfavourable to the cause of the Reformers, as the 
Prince was taken prisoner. 

The bodily infirmities of Calvin grew more complicated 
and severe, but his watchful and vigorous mind rose in its 
exertions. The nearer he approached the termination of his 
course, the more unremitted were his studies. These labours 
he pursued when his reputation Mas established beyond the 
possibility of enlargement, and when every i)ersonal consider- 
ation called him to repose. His publick duties were only 
relinquished by a])solute weakness. When confined to his 
bed, oppressed with the headache, weakness of the bowels, 
and the pains of the gout, he would dictate letters, treatises 
and commentaries, till his amanuensis was wearied. Ilis an- 
swers to the Polanese, against the enemies of the divinity 
•of Jesus Christ, and to the de]njtip« of the Synod of Lyons ; 

212 LIFE OE CALVIN. 1564 

his Commentary and Harmony on the fom" books of Moses, 
"RTitten first in Latin, and translated by himself into French, 
and his Commentary on Joshua, which he commenced this 
year and finished on his death bed, are an ami)le testimony 
that the object of his labours was the glory of Christ and the 
prosperity of his Church. 

On the 6th of February, 1564, he preached his last ser- 
m.on, and closed his theological lectures. He was then so 
severely oppressed with the asthma, as almost to deprive 
him of the use of his voice. After this time, he was occa- 
sionally carried to the meeting of the congregation, and for 
the last time on the 31st of March. In a letter to the Phy- 
sicians of Montpelier, dated the 8th of February, he describes 
the complicated diseases, which his unremitting labours and 
studies had produced and cherished, with accumulating 
strength, from the earlier part of life. Considering that 
their generous assistance could no longer be of any service, 
he commends them to the blessing and protection of God. 
For ten years he had usually abstained from all animal food 
at dinner, and rarely eat any thing after breakfast till his 
stated hour for supper. For the head ache, with which he 
was frequently afflicted, he used fasting as a common remedy, 
and sometimes passed thirty-six hours without any food. 
His bodily constitution was of a dry temperament, and in- 
clined to the consumption. His sleep was short and unsound. 
Five years before his death, he was occasionally afflicted 
with spitting of blood. When the quartan ague abated its 
severity, he was seized with the gout in his right foot. He 
was at times visited with the pains of the cholick, and a few 
months before his death with the stone. The Physicians 
exhausted their skill in prescribing remedies, and he 
was no less faithful in following their directions, as far as it 
respected punctuality in taking their medicines. But nei- 
Iheir by arguments nor bodily distress, would he be induced 


to suspend his laborious studies. Under the pressure of 
these complicated disorders, he was never heard to utter a 
syllable unbecoming the fortitude and patience of a Chris- 
tian. In his severest pains he a\ ould raise his eyes to Iiea- 
ven, and say, i/bw lo7ig, O Lord ? In his days of health also 
he often used these words, when lie heard of any calamities 
befalling his brethren, whose aflliction deeply ailcctcd the 
sensibility of his heart. When his friends expostulated, 
and aA'ectionately urged him to cease in his sickness, from 
dictating and writing, he would say, What ! would you that 
when the Lord comes, he should surprise me in idleness .•* 

On the 10th of JMarch, when Beza and other friends visited 
him in their usual manner, they found him dressed and sit- 
ting at the table on which he had been accustomed to write. 
Observing theiu, he reclined his head upon his haiid, appar- 
rently in silent meditation, and after a few moments, address- 
ed them in a slow and interrupted voice, but ^v ith a cheer- 
ful countenance ; / return you thanks^ my dearest brethren^ 
for your solicitude for me, and I hope that in a fortnight, J 
shall assist at your assembly for the last time ;# after that 1 
think the L.ord will manifest his ivill n'Uh respect to nic, and 
will taJce me to himself 

On the Sith of March, he attended the meeting of the 
Consistory for the discipline of morals, and the service being 
past in peace, he said, " I perceive that the Lord has given 
Die some enlargement." Then taking the New Testament 
in French, he read some of the marginal annotations, whicU 
he had corrected, and asked the opinion of liis colleagues 
concerning their propriety. The exertions of ihii day w ere 

• The assembly, or meeting of the Consistory, before the Hciministra- 
tion of the Supper was called, tiie Censura JMorum, or discijiline of mo- 
rals, at whicli time Uiey enquirid after any dflinquencics of the mcnibers, 
that tliey mij^lit be dealt with as tu' ''.isc rcf|uircd, before coming- to the 
table on the next Lord's Dav 


too fatiguing, and on the morrow he was more unwell. On 
the 2rth, he was carried to the door of the Council House, 
and walked, supported by two friends, into the chamber. 
Being uncovered, he presented Beza, the Rector of the Col- 
lege, to the favour and patronage of the Senate. He thank- 
ed them for all their kindnesses and respect ; and especially 
for the proofs of aifection which they had shewn him during 
his present illness ; / feel, said he, that I have come here for 
the last time. Having uttered these words with difficulty, 
his voice failed him, and he took leave of the Senators, who 
were all in tears. 

On the 2d of April, the stated Sabbath for their commun- 
ion, being very feeble, he was carried to the house of wor- 
ship in an easy chair. He heard the sermon, received the 
Lord's Supper from the hands of Beza, and joined the con- 
gregation in a hymn, with a trembling voice, while his pale 
countenance manifested tokens of peace and joy. 

He made his will on the 25th of April, in which he express- 
es with great meekness, his views of the way of salvation for 
sinners, and his experience of the riches of divine grace, 
through Jesus Christ. 

" The Will of John Calvin. 

« In the name of God, Amen. On the 25th of April, 1564, 
I, Peter Chenalat, citizen and Notary of Geneva, witness and 
declare, that I was called, by the worthy John Calvin, Minis- 
ter of the word of God, in this Church of Geneva, and citizen 
of the same city ; who, being indisposed in body, but of a 
sound mind, declared his determination to make his last will 
and testament, and requested me to write what he should 
dictate and declare by word of mouth — Avhich I have done, 
as he pronounced and declared, word for word, without 
omission or addition, in the following form : 

1564 LIFE OF CALVIN. 215 

" In the name of God, Amen. I, John Calvin, Minister of 
the word of God, in the Church of Geneva, oppressed and af- 
flicted with various disorders, believing that God will shortly 
remove me out of this world, have determined to make my 
testament, and to commit to writing my last will in the fol- 
lowing form : 

" First, I give thanks to God, that, having mercy upon 
me, whom he created and placed in this world, he has not 
only delivered me out of the thick darkness of idolatry, in 
which I was buried, but has brought me into the light of 
his Gospel, and made me a partaker of the doctrine of salva- 
tion, of which I was most unworthy : that, Avith the same 
mercy and kindness, he has graciously borne a\ ith my mul- 
tiplied transgressions and sins, for which I deserved to be re- 
jected and cut oif by him : that he has, liowever, exercised 
such great clemency and compassion towards me, that he 
has used my labours in preaching and promulgating the 
truth of his Gospel. And I testify and declare my intention 
to pass the remainder of my life in the same faith and reli- 
gion, which he has delivered to me in his Gospel : that I have 
no other defence or refuge of salvation, than his gratuitous 
adoption, on Avhich alone rests my confidence : and with my 
whole heart I embrace the mercy which he exercises towards 
me, for the sake of Jesus Christ, accepting the merits of his 
death and sufferings, that in this way he may be satisfied for 
all my transgressions and sins, that their remembrance may 
be blotted out. I also testify and declare, that as I am a 
supplicant I ask of him, that he would wash and purify me 
in the blood of the exalted Redeemer, effuso pro humaxi 
GENEiiis PECcATis, skcd for tlic sws of the human race, that I 
may be permitted to stand before his tribunal in the image of 
the Redeemer himself. I declare also, that I have sedulous- 
ly exerted my lal)ours, according to the measure of qrace and 
favour whieh God hi)s bestowed upon me ; that both in my 


sermons, writings and commentaricF, I have faithfully and 
purely declared his word, and with integrity interpreted the 
holy scriptures. I also testify and declare, that in all the 
controversies and disputes which I have conducted with the 
enemies of the Gospel, I have used neither craftiness, nor the 
pernicious arts of sophistry, but have candidly and sincerely 
been engaged in the defence of the truth. 

" But, alas, my study and my zeal (if worthy of that name) 
liave been so languid and remiss, that I confess innumerable 
things have been wanting in me to the full discharge of the 
duties of my office ; and imless the unmeasurable bounty of 
God had been present, all my study would have been vain 
and transient. And I also acknowledge, that unless he had 
been present to assist me by his grace, I should have become, 
in his sight, more and more guilty of negligence and sloth, 
for which cause I witness and declare, that I hope for no 
other refuge of salvation than this, that since God is the 
father of mercy, he may shew himself a father to me, who ac- 
knowledge myself a miserable sinner. 

" Further, I ^viII, after my departure from this life, that 
my body be committed to the earth, in that manner, and 
with those funeral rites, which are ordinarily used by this 
Church, and in this city, until the day of the glorious resur- 
rection shall come. 

"With respect to tin \i. mall worldly estate, which God 
has bestowed upon me, a.:(l which I have determined to dis- 
pose of in this testament, I will, that Anthony Calvin, my 
dear brother, be my heir ; and out of respect to him, let him 
have and hold for himself, the silver goblet which was given 
to me by Mr. de Varannes, with which I desire him to be 
contented, as I commit to his trust the remainder of my es- 
tate, requesting of him that at his decease this goblet may 
be given to his children. I bequeath ten gold crowns, to be 
given ])y my brother and legal heir, to the children's school ; 


and as many to the support of poor strangers. Also, I will to 
Joanna, daughter of Charles Costans and of my half sister 
on the paternal side, and to Samuel and John, the sons of my 
said brother, each forty crowns, out of my estate, after his 
death : To his daughters Anna, Susanna and Dorothy, each 
thirty crowns : To David, their brother, on account of his 
known youthful levity and petulance, only twenty -five 

" This is the amount of all the property which God hatli 
given me, as far as I am able to ascertain it, from an estima- 
tion of my books, furniture and estate of every kind. Should 
there, however, prove to be more, I will, that it be equally 
distributed among my brother's children, not excluding Da- 
vid, if by the favour of God he shall conduct himself with 

" Nothing of much value, I believe, will remain after my 
debts are discharged, the management of which business I 
commit to my brother, in whose faithfulness and good will, I 
have confidence, on which account I will and appoint him to 
be the executor of this my testament, and together with him 
my worthy friend Laurence de Normandie ; giving them 
full power and authority, without an order of Court, to take 
an inventory of my goods, and sell the moveables, to procure 
money to fulfil the conditions of my ab©ve written will, which 
I have set forth and declared, this 25th day of April, in the 
year 15G4. 


" The next day, being the 26th of April 1504, the same 
worthy man, Calvin, commanded me to be called to him, to- 
gether with Theodore Bcza, Raymond Calvet, Michael Cop, 
Lewis Enoch, Nicholas Calladon, James de Bordes, Ministerr5 
and Preachers of the word of God in the Church of Geneva, 
and also the worthy Hem-y Scringer, Professor of Arts, citi- 


218 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1564 

zens of Geneva, and in their presence lie testified and declar= 
cd, that he dictated to me his testament, in the form above 
written. He directed me to read the same in their liearmg. 
He then testified and declared it to be his last will, which he 
desired to have carried into effect. In testimony and confirm- 
ation of which, he requested them all to witness the same 
with their hands, which was done the year and month above, 
at Geneva, in the street commonly called the Canons, and m 
ihe house of the testator. In proof of which, I have sub- 
scribed the same with my hand, and sealed it with the com- 
mon seal of our Supreme Court. 


Having thus made his will, he signified to the four Syn- 
dicks, and to the Senators, his desire to address them before 
his death in the Senate-room, to which he hoped to be car- 
ried on the following day. They answered, that it would 
be more agreeable to visit him, and requested him to be 
careful of his health. On the next day, they all repau:ed 
from the Senate room, to the house of Calvin. After mutu- 
al salutations, he acknowledged the respect they had shown 
him, and addressed them as follows :— 

« I have long wished for a conference with you, but have 
deferred it till I was more certainly assured of the near ap- 
proach of death. I return you thanks, my highly honoured 
Lords, for having distinguished me with so many honours, 
which I have by no means deserved, and for bearing so pa- 
tiently with my many infirmities, which I have always con- 
sidered as a singular mark of your benevolence towards me. 
In the exercise of my ministry, I have been obliged to under- 
go various contests, and to sustain many msults ; trials, to 
which the best of men must submit, and which I know and 
acknowledge have not arisen fi'om your fault. I earnestly 
beseech you, that, if in any thing I have not performed my 

1564i LIFE OF CALVIN. 219 

duty as I ought, you will ascribe it to my inaljiiity, and not 
to any indisposition. I assure you, that I have always taken 
a deep interest in the welfare of this Rcpublick ; and if I 
have not accomplished alJ that my station demanded of me, 
I have however always laboured with my ^vhole strength to 
promote the publick good. Should 1 refrain from avowing, 
that the Lord has sometimes used my endeavours for the ac- 
complishment of this object, I should be guilty of dissimula- 
tion. I must entreat your pardon, once more, that I have 
effected so little in my publick and private capacity, in com- 
parison with what I ought to have done ; and I freely ac- 
knowledge, that I am much indebted to you, for having 
borne, with so much equanimity, my vehemence, which has 
sometimes been immoderate, for ^\ hicli sin, I trust I have al- 
so the forgiveness of God. 

" As to the doctrines which you have heard from me, I 
testify to you, that I have not rashly nor uncertainly, but pure- 
ly and sincerely, taught the word entrusted to me of God, 
knowing that other^\'ise his indignation would aheady hang- 
suspended over my head ; but now I am confident, that my la- 
bours in the ministry have not been displeasing to him. I 
make this declaration, in the presence of God, and before you, 
the more willingly, as I have no doubt, but that Satan^ after 
his usual manner, will raise up many vain, dishonest and gid- 
dy minded men, to corrupt the pure doctrines which you 
have heard from me." 

He then called their attention, to those immense benefits 
with which God had distinguished them. *' There is no one," 
he said, " who can inform you better than myself, from how 
many and how great dangers, the Almighty and merciful 
God has delivered you. You see in what circumstances you 
are placed. Whether in prosperity or adversity, keep this 
truth, I entreat you, constantly before your eycF, that it is He 
alone preserves cities and kingdoms ; and that He in return 

220 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1564 

demands that they worship Him. Remember that David, 
that illustrious king, testifies, that it was when he enjoyed a 
profound peace, that he experienced his fall, from which he 
never would have arisen, if God had not stretched out his 
hand, with singular favour, to his relief. What then may 
not happen to weak and infirm men, since so powerful and 
brave a Prince has fallen ? You must humble yourselves, 
therefore, in the presence of God, that he may give you grace 
to live in his fear, and to put your whole confidence in him. 
Thus will you be assured of the continuance of the same pro- 
tection which you have so often experienced, and may pro- 
ceed with stability, under his care, even when your prosperity 
and security may hang suspended on a slender thread. If 
things proceed prosperously, take heed, I beseech you, not to 
exalt yourselves like profane men, but with all humility of 
heart, give thanks unto God. If misfortunes befal you, and 
death surround you on every side, still hope in him, who 
raises even the dead : Nay, consider well, that God is by 
this means awakening you from your sloth, that you may 
learn to look unto him alone, with the most entire confidence. 
If you would preserve this Republick in its present stability, 
give the most persevering heed, that you pollute not, by your 
vices, the sacred seats on which he has placed you. He is 
the Most High God, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, who 
will honour those who honour him, but will cast down in 
abasement, those who despise him. Worship him, therefore, 
according to his commandments, and think more and more 
Intensely on this duty. We are very far from rendering un- 
to God, our reasonable service. I know the disposition and 
manner of life of each of you, and that you have need of this 
exhortation. Among those who excel, there is no one, who 
does not come short of his duty in many things. Let every 
one examine himself, and ask of God the supply of his own 
deficiencies, We see ^^•hat corruptions prevail in most of the 


Councils of the earth. Some, cold and indiiTerent to the pub- 
lick interest, pursue with eagerness their own emoluments ; oth- 
ers are only intent upon the gratification of their passions ; oth- 
ers abuse, beyond measure, the talents which God has given 
them ; others vainly labour to display their own importance, 
and with confidence demand, that ^vhatever they determine 
should be approved by the people at large. I would remind 
the aged not to envy those young persons whom they find to 
be adorned of God with excellent gifts. I advise the young 
to conduct themselves with modesty, and to keep far from all 
self sufficiency. Let not one interfere with the duties of an- 
other. Avoid animosities, and those asperities of mind, 
which prevent many, in the management of publick concerns, 
from discharging correctly the duties of their office. You 
will avoid these evils, if each one keeps himself within the 
limits of his own station, and faithfully fulfils the duties which, 
in the Republick, are committed to his charge. In judicial 
proceedings, I beseech you, to give no place to partialities or 
prejudices. Let no one pervert judgment by artful sophistry : 
let no one oljstruct or weaken the force of the laws by chicane 
and plausible address : let no one depart from Avhat is just 
and good. If the evil passions are excited by temptation, 
resist them with firmness ; look to him by whom you are pla- 
ced on the seat of judgment, and ask of him the guidance of 
the Holy Spirit. Finally, I again beseech you to pardon my 
infirmities, which I confess and acknowledge before God, and 
the Angels, and moreover before you, venerable Lords." 

When he had said these things, he prayed to the Almighty 
and most merciful God, that he would enrich them more 
abundantly m itli his gifts, and guide them with his Iloly Spi- 
rit to the prosperity of the Republick. He then gave his 
right hand to each one — and bade them all a sorrowful fare- 
well. They parted from him with tears as from a com.mon 
father. l 

i^2 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1564 

On the 28th of April, at the request of Calvin, all the Mi- 
nisters in the jurisdiction of Geneva, assembled in his room, 
and he addressed them as follows : 

" After my death, my brethren, continue in this work, and 
be not discouraged. The Lord will preserve this Republick and 
this Church, against all the threats of the enemies. Put away all 
divisions from among yourselves,and embrace one another with 
mutual charity. Consider daily, what you owe to the Church 
in which God has placed you ; and suiTer nothing to separate 
you from it. It will indeed be easy for those, who are desir- 
ous of leaving their flocks, to find some pretexts to cover their 
desertion ; but they will discover, by experience, that God 
cannot be deceived. When I first came to this city, the gos- 
pel was indeed preached, but the afiairs of religion were in a 
most disordered state, as if Christianity consisted in nothing 
but the destruction of images. There were many wicked 
men, from whom I suflfered many extreme indignities ; but 
the Lord God himself so strengthened me, even me, I say, 
who am by nature so timid, (I speak as the fact is,) that I was 
enabled to resist all their efi^orts. When I returned to this 
place from Strasburg, I yielded to the call with an unwilling 
mind, because it appeared to me that my return would be 
fruitless. I was ignorant of the designs of God, and the un- 
dertaking was full of multiplied and magnified difficulties. 
But persevering in my work, I perceived at length, that the 
Lord blessed my labours. Persevere then, my brethren, in 
your vocation ; hold fast the estabUshed order ; give all dili- 
gence, that the people yield obedience to the doctrines ; for 
there are still some Avicked and insolent men. You see that 
the order of the Church is well regulated ; and if it is de- 
stroyed by your negligence, you will bring upon yourselves 
the severest judgments of God. I now testify to you, my 
brethren, that I have always lived with you, and now depart 
from you, in the true and sincere bonds of charity. And if. 

1564i LIFE OF CALVIN. 22S 

at any time, in the course of my sickness, yon have found me 
too morose, I ask your forgiveness, and give you many thanks, 
that during my confinement, you have discharged the duties 
of ray office." 

He then reached his hand to each of Jiis brethren, who 
retired weeping and with sorrowful hearts. 

On the 2d of May, Calvin received a letter from Farel,# 
now 75 years of age, and quite infirm, informing him of his 
determination to make him a visit. To this letter he return- 
ed the following ans^rer : 

« Calvin to Farel, Wishes health. 

" Farewell, my best and most ^vorthy brother. Since 
God has determined, that you should survive me in this 
world, live mindful of our union, which has been so useful 
to the Church of God, and the fruits of which await us in 
heaven. Do not fatigue yourself on my account. I draw 
my breath with difficulty ; and am expecting continually 
that my breath will fail. It is sufficient that I live and die 
in Christ, who is gain to his servants in life and in death. 
Again, farewell, with the brethren. 

« Geneva, May 2, 1564." 

The venerable Farel, however, visited Calvin, and renew- 
ed with him for a night that friendship, Avhich death can- 
not dissolve, but which will be consummated in the heaven- 
ly world. After this, Calvin spent his time almost con- 
stantly in prayer, wiiich his difficulty in breathing prevent- 
ed him from uttering with a distinct articulation ; but his 
expressive eyes raised towards heaven, and the serenity of 

* Viret was at this time at the Court of the amiable and intrepid Jane, 
Queen of Navarre, daughter of Margaret de Valois, whose piety and 
constancy she surpassed. Under the protection of this patroness of the 
Reformers, Yirctdicdin 1571, aged CO. 

224 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1564 

his countenance bespoke the comfort of his mind, and the 
solemnity of his devotion. As his voice was sometimes 
distinct, he was heard to say, / ?vas dumb, O Lord, because 
thou didst it, — / did mourn as a dove. — Lord, thjj hand is 
heavy on me, but I am abundantly satisfied, because it is thy 

To have admitted all the persons, who, from alTection- 
ate regard, crouded to see him, would have kept his doors 
constantly open. As he was unable to converse with them, 
he requested his friends to pray for him in their retirements, 
and to omit their visits. To Beza, Avho was his dearest 
friend, he intimated, that however agreeable his company 
might be, he was anxious, that he should not devote to liim 
the time which he owed to religion, and the duties of his 
office : so careful was he of the time which was dedicated to 
the Church, and so anxious for the cause of Christ. 

On the 19th of May, the Ministers assembled for the 
Censura Morum, and as their custom was to take a meal 
together in token of friendship, Calvin requested that they 
should sup in the hall of his house. This meeting was two 
days previous to the Sabbath, on which the Lord's Supper 
was statedly administered to their Church. They assem- 
bled at his house, and at supper time he was carried, with 
much difficulty to himself, into the hall. As he approach- 
ed the table, he said, I have come, my brethren, to sit with 
you for the last time at this table. The scene affected them 
very deeply. He oiiered the prayer, ate a little, and con- 
versed as composedly and cheerfully as his weakness would 
permit. Before the supper was ended, he addressed them — 
/ must be carried to my bed, and with a serene and pleas- 
ant countenance added, these nails nill not prevent my un- 
ion flith you in spirit, although my body be absent. . 

After this day, he arose no more from his bed. His 
body was extremely emaciated, but his countenance retained 

1564 LIFE OF CALVIN. 225 

still a degree of its usual fullness and vigour. On the 27th. 
of May, his voice was stronger, and he uttered himself 
with more ease. This was the last effort of nature; for 
about eight in the evening, all the symptoms of death sud- 
denly appeared. lu the full j)ossession of his reason, he 
continued speaking, till, without a struggle or a gasp, his 
breath ceased, and the spirit of this great doctrinal lumi- 
nary of the Reformation departed, about the going down 
of the sun. 

The following night and day, the whole people were in 
mourning: For the city had lost her best citizen — the 
Church, her faithful Pastor — the College, her first Professor 
— and every family, a common father and comforter. 

The house was crouded with persons, anxious to behold 
the remains of one whom they so highly respected. Several 
strangers, among whom was the Ambassadour of Queen Eli- 
zabeth to France, who had made a visit to Geneva to see 
and hear him, earnestly requested, as they had not been 
permitted to visit him while he lived, that they might at 
least see the body of so distinguished a man. Permission 
was granted, but the curiosity was so general that the 
friends judged it expedient to exclude the visitors, lest they 
should give occasion to the Papists to calumniate them as 
paying a religious respect to his body. The next morning, 
being the Lord's day, his body was wrapped in a linen 
cloth, and enclosed in a wooden coffin. At two o'clock in 
the afternoon, it was carried, being followed by the Syn- 
dicks, Senators, Pastors and Professors of the College, to- 
gether with almost the whole City, weeping as they went, 
and deposited without pomp in the common burying ground, 
called the Planum Palatium, the level Court, According to 
his request, no hillock or monument was erected to his me- 
mory. A plain stone, without any inscription, was laid over 
the spot that covered his body. 


226 LIFE OF CALVIN. 1564 

Beza wrote a few verses, in commemoration of his vir- 
tues, in which he alludes to the simplicity of his grave- 
The following is a translation from the Latin : — # 

Why, in this humble and unnoticed tomb. 

Is Calvin laid, the dread of falling Rome, 

Mourned by the good, and by the wicked feared. 

By all who knew his excellence revered ; 

From whom ev'n virtue's self might virtue leara. 

And young and old its value may discern ? 

'Twas modesty, his constant friend on e&rtb," 
That laid this stone unsculptured with a name. 

O happy turf, enriched with Calvin's worth. 
More lasting far than marble is thy fame. 

Calvin died aged 54 years, 10 months and 17 days.— He 
was 2S years in the ministry. 

Calvin's stature was of the middle size ; his complexion 
pale and dark; his eyes brilliant and expressive. In his 
habits, he was neat without ostentation, and plain without 
carelessness. He was reasonably temperate in his diet, and 
alike free from the pride of luxury and the littleness of par- 
simony. His hours of sleep were few^ ; his mind was almost 
unremittingly exerted ; and by his intellectual powers, he 
Avas distinguished from others, and held a dignified and ea- 
sy pre-eminence among his cotemporaries. The vigour of 
his youth was a pledge of a stable manhood. He gave 
early specimens of mental greatness. The germs of genius 
were discovered and cherished, by the patronage of the no- 
ble family of JMonunor. His father observed his early ha- 
tred to vice, and devoted him to the cause of religion ; but 
parental partiality changed his purpose for the more lucra- 
tive and courtly profession of law. But God had enriched 
the soul of this youth with uncommon talents, for more ex- 

* See the Scots' Magazine, vol. 2, p. 89. 


alted eixls. In the College, where he was located to pursue 
his legal studies, the light of the pure doctrines opened upon 
his capacious soul, and dissipated the dark clouds of oppres- 
sive superstition. A new field and the most attractive ob- 
jects rose in his view. He followed the impulses of his heart, 
and the guidance of the scriptures, till he escaped from the 
dominion of Papal darkness. 

The progress of this great man in every study, in which 
he engaged, was astonishing. His companions and acquaint- 
ance acknowledged his superiority. Unremitting in his stu- 
dies, he appeared to reach at once the heights of wisdom and 
science. In the morning of life, at the age of twenty-two 
years, Scaliger *' pronounced him to be the most learned 
man in Europe." By the peculiar force of his talents he ac- 
quired, with facility, that degree of knowledge, which others 
obtain by a slow and laborious progress. His perception was 
quick, and his comprehension vast. He embodied the rela- 
tive parts of a subject, and presented it to the minds of others, 
with a clearness and precision most effectually adapted to 
produce unwavering conviction. 

His memory was tenacious. The lapse of years rarely effa- 
ced, from his recollection, persons whom he had once recogni- 
zed. Amidst cares and labours, which crouded successively 
upon each other, nothing was forgotten. His facility of re- 
collection, in the theological chair, was of great value to him- 
self, and highly useful to his pupils. His mind was order, 
and his life system. In composing the most difficult works, 
when interrupted for hours, by company and conversation, 
he would return and pursue his subject without reviewinjj^ 
what he had written, to catch afresh the train of his thoughts, 
His judgment was discriminating, and he discerned, with 
uncommon accuracy, the course to be pursued, and the 
means to be used, in the accomplishment of de^iirable objects, 
Uis dominion was over the intellectual powers of man. Ili<; 

228 LIFE OF CALVIN, 1564 

plans for promoting the cause of religion were deliberately 
formed, and pm-sued with an intuitive and prospective ap- 
prehension of men and things. In difficult cases, he advised 
and pursued moderate and persevering measures, which rare- 
ly failed of ultimate success. The many Churches and indi- 
viduals, who sought his counsel, found his opinions grounded, 
not merely on the immediate state of things, but on the pro- 
bable progress and changes which would naturally be their 
result. His advice rarely failed of proving its wisdom, 
from the effectual issue of its operation in securing the ob- 

In his writings, Calvin evinces the strongest proof of a 
great mind, not in one production, or on a single subject, 
but on all subjects, to Avhich he directed the mighty current 
of his thoughts. Having fixed on the end to be pursued, ob- 
serving the objections to be obviated, and the difficulties to 
be surmounted, liis arguments are selected, and without say- 
ing all that a more feeble mind would say, he adheres to 
those reasons which, if admitted, other things follow of course ; 
and the mind feels itself under the necessity of assenting to 
the force of truth, which lights upon it so unexpectedly, and 
so benevolently, and yields to his authority, to avoid the visi- 
ble absurdities, and more flagrant inconsistencies, which it 
finds to be attached to previous opinions. 

Calvin possessed an intellectual prudence, which enabled 
him to discern the limits of legitimate knowledge. Unlike 
those men, who would be thought great, by the smoke 
which they raise, and in which they involve themselves, 
while they still profess to see clearly, boldly impeaching 
others of their nictating vision, who are modest enough to 
avow their inability to discern the consistency of absurdities, 
he was modest in submitting to stop at the bounds of revela- 
tion, and yet bold in asserting what the divine testimony 
warranted. He intrepidly maintained the sovereignty of 

15G4j life of CALVIN. 229 

God over moral agents, and no less resolutely curbed vain 
curiosity and metaphysical speculation on abstruse subjects. 
Mysteries he left to God, or another world. In systematiz- 
ing divine truth, he located doctrines, duties and the means of 
grace in an order which cannot be broken, without produ- 
cing some such effect as would result to the human body by 
displacing its members, and combining them in a different 
relation. He considered it the province of mad philosophy 
to overstep the maxims of common sense, and travel into the 
regions of perfectibility by the light of human reason. But 
truths involving the deepest mysteries, he believed on the tes- 
timony of God ; and Avas warmly opposed to that impious 
rashness which rejects whatever it cannot comprehend, or 
the truth of which it cannot now see the utility. 

Personal ease, interest and reputation were secondary ob- 
jects with Calvin. Love to the cause of Christ was the mas- 
ter passion of his soul. To promote this cause he exerted 
every talent, and extended the narrow boundaries allotted 
him by Providence, by arresting each moment of the rapid 
current of life, and turning it to some useful purpose. He 
appropriately selected the words of his device, prompte et 
sincere, promptly and sincerely. Stern integrity and incredi- 
ble fortitude were discovered in all his actions. Endowed 
by Providence with pre-eminent talents, disciplined for their 
effectual use, located in a most distinguished city, at a most 
eventful period, Calvin furnishes a rich model of learning, 
of diligence and success in the cause of Christ. He felt, he 
thought, he wrote and laboured for the most distant Church- 
es, and for posterity. 

Anxious for the union of all the friends of the truth, he 
was accommodating, in the most liberal manner, to the 
friends of the pure doctrines ; but was unyielding on any 
point, which he considered essential to the purity and pros- 
perity of the Church. He was constitutionally susceptible 


of quick emotions ; and he frankly acknowledges, that he had 
not succeeded in his struggles to conquer his impatient and 
irritable temper, with all the success which he desired. My 
efforts, he says, have not been wholly useless, although I 
have not been able to conquer the ferocious animal. Ten- 
der and forbearing towards the weak, the ignorant and sm- 
cere, he deliijhted to cherish the smoking flax, and strength- 
en the bruised reed. But his severity was sometimes in- 
dignant against the open and obstinate enemies of religion, 
who profanely trampled on the inestimable truths of Christ, 
and endangered, by their profligate opinions, the souls of 
others. Prompt as he was sincere, he treated his friend and 
compeer Melancthon with the same undisguised freedom, as 
he used towards his bitterest enemies, measuring to each ac-. 
cording, as he judged, that their opinions or conduct affect- 
ed the cause of religion. 

The writings of Calvin had a salutary effect upon the Ko- 
raish Church. By the exposure of her pollutions, her shame 
was excited ; she abandoned some abuses in her doctrines, 
and girded herself in a somewhat more restrictive discipline. 
The reformed Churches in France adopted his confession of 
faith and were modelled after the ecclesiastical order of 
Geneva. The liturgy of the English Church was revised 
and reformed by his means. In Scotland and Holland his 
system was adopted; and many Churches in Germany and 
Poland, indeed in every country into which the light of the 
Reformation has made its way, have felt the influence of his 
powerful mind. But at Geneva, as a central point, « he was 
the li-ht of the Church, the oracle of the laws, the supporter 
of liberty, the restorer of morals, and the fountain of litera- 
ture and the sciences." To him the Genevese owe the estab- 
lishment of their University and Schools, which have enabled, 
them to furnish, to every country in Europe, so many In- 
structors and men of science. SkUled In the profession of. 


law, Calvin aided in establishing those civil and political re- 
gulations which, together with the Censura Morum of the 
Church, secured, for so long a period, the prosperity and sta- 
bility of that llepublick. The author of the Spirit of Laws 
observes, with his usual discrimination, " that the Geneve se 
ought to celebrate the birth-day of Calvin, and that of his arri- 
val within the walls of their citi/.^^ Zuinglius, Luther and 
Melancthon, stars of the first magnitude, had appeared 
above the horizon in the first dawning of tlie Reformation, 
and were the precursors and earnest of a glorious day. Cal- 
vin arose later, but with a superior intellectual splendour, and 
moved in an orbit more extensive than the other luminaries 
of that period. " His extensive genius, flowing eloquence, 
immense learning, extraordinary penetration, indefatigable in- 
dustry, and fervent piety, placed him at the head of the Re- 

It was a bold enterprise, an arduous task, to attack and 
demolish the strong holds of passionate and interested super- 
stition. It was, however, a more Herculean labour, to cleanse 
the Augean stable of Popish pollutions, and to gather the ma- 
terials, and erect and establish an edifice of doctrines and dis- 
cipline, which should, at the same time, support that Gospel 
by which it was itself supported. Tliis was the object for 
which Calvin laboured, to combine a system of Church order 
which, under Christ the head, should embrace a living princi- 
ple to pepetuate itself under all the diversities of civil govern- 
ment. Nothing is perfect with man, but the Reibrmer of Ge- 
neva has done much, under the light of Revelation, and in 
conformity to her principles, to extend, over tlie intiiUectual 
and moral powers of man, a dominion, which will probably 
exist in every free and elective government, and only termin- 
ate with the close of time. 

* Maclaine's ngte, in ^^QsheiTn. 


In the last and trying scene of life, Calvin appeared with 
all the dignity which the Christian's hope can give to fallen 
man. While death was breaking his feeble hold from 
earthly things, his soul reposed with unshaken confidence on 
the promises of God, and he endured the light and momenta- 
ry afflictions, apprehending the eternal weight of glory. He 
took leave of the Ministers of the Church, and Magistrates of 
the Republick, like a father departing from his family. His 
warnings and counsels were affectionate without regret, and 
generous without jealousy. He acknowledged his own weal^ 
ness, and admonished them of theirs. Experienced in trials 
and difficulties, he pointed out the way to avoid or surmount 
them, by fearing God and keeping his commandments. 
Thus Calvin closed in peace a course of life, which it is easier 
to censure than to imitate. 




Letter I. Prefatory Address to the Commentary on the 

II. Calvin to Francis Daniel. 

III. Bucer to Calvin. 

IV. Calvin to Peter Caroli. 

V. Calvin to Farel. 

VI. Calvin to the Genevese Climrli. 

VII. Calvin to Farel. 
VTII. Calvin to Farel. 

IX. Calvin to Farel. 

X. Calvin to Farel. 

XI. Calvin to Farel. 

XII. James Bernard to Calyin. 

XIII. Calvin to Bernard. 

XIV. Calvin to Viret. 

XV. Calvin to Farel. 

XVI. Luther to jMclancthon. 

XVII. Calvin to Farel. 
XVIIL Calvin to Farel. 
XLX. Calvin to Farel. 

XX. Calvin to Farel. 

XXI. Calvin to Farel. 


234 LIFE OF CALVIN. letters. 

Letter XXII. Calvin to Farel. 

XXIII. Address of the Protestant Princes, &c. to 
Francis I. 

XXIV. Calvin to Farel. 

XXV. Calvin to the Church of Montbeillard, 

XXVI. Sultzer to Calvin. 

XXVII. Calvin to Myconius. 

XXVIII. Melancthon to Calvin. 

XXIX. Calvin to the IMinisters of Neufchatel. 

XXX. Calvin to the Queen of Navarre. 

XXXI. Calvin to Melancthon. 

XXXII. Bucer to Calvin. 

XXXIII. Bucer to Calvin. 

XXXIV. Calvin to the Protector of England. 

XXXV. Calvin to Melancthon. 

XXXVI. Calvin to Bucer. 

XXXVII. N to Calvin. 

XXXVIII. Calvin to Bullinger. 

XXXIX. Cranmer to Calvin. 
XL. Calvin to Cranmer. 
XLI. Calvin to Cranmer. 
XLII. Hooper to Calvin. 
XLIII. Melancthon to Calvin. 
XLIV. Calvin to Melancthon. 
XLV. Calvin to Sir John Cheke. 
XLVI. Melancthon to Calvin. 
XL VII. Calvin to Melancthon. 
XLVIII. Melancthon to Bullinger. 
XLIX. Calvin to Martyr. 

L. Melancthon to Calvin. 
LI. Calvin to Melancthon. 
LII. Calvin to Bullinger. 
LIII. Calvin to Sir William Cecil. 
LIV. Calvin to Oleviantis. 



John Calvin, to the pious and ingenuous readers, greeting, 

(Extract from the Epistle prefatory to his Coramentary on 
the PsahBS. Calvin's works, volume third.) 

As David was raised from the sheep- 
fold to the highest dignity of government, so God has dig- 
nified me, derived from an obscure and humble origin, with 
the liigh and honourable office of Minister and Preacher of 
the Gospel. My father had destined me, from my child- 
hood, for theology. But, observing how extensively the 
science of the law enriched its professors, he suddenly 
changed his purpose ; and recalled me from the study of 
philosophy to that of jui'isprudence. In this I obeyed the 
will of my father, and endeavoured to give faithful atten- 
tion. God, however, ^vith the reins of his secret Provi- 
dence, eventually tm*ned my course in a different direction. 
At my first entrance on that study, I was indeed too perti- 
naciously addicted to the superstitions of the Papacy, to be 
easily drawn out of such deep mire ; and my mind too firm- 
ly rooted in those habits, to yield with docility to a change 
in my studies so entire and unexpected. At length, howe- 
ver, having experienced some taste of the pure doctrines, I 
was inflamed with such zeal to progress farther, that, al- 
though I did not reject my other studies, yet I pursued 
them only in a cold and indifferent manner. One year had 
not elapsed, before all those, who were desirous of the know- 
ledge of tlie purer doctrines, flocked to me for instruction, 
while as yet I was myself a mere beginner in that school. 

My natural disposition was reserved ; I always loved re- 
tirement and leisure ; and at this time I chose to be unmo- 

236 LIFE OF CALVIN. letters. 

leeted and unknown. This, however, was not granted me ; 
and all my retreats became as much frequented as a publick 
school. At last, while it was my whole purpose to cherish 
my studies in unknown retirement, God so surrounded me 
with changes, that I was frustrated in my wishes ; and, in 
opposition to all my inclinations, I was forced into publick 
notice. For this reason, I left France, and retired into Ger- 
many ; that, by hiding in some obscure corner, I might en- 
joy that repose which had long been denied me. But ob- 
serve, while I lived unknown and secluded at Basil, the burn- 
ing of many pious men in France excited, throughout Ger- 
juany, severe indignation. In order to remove these resent- 
ments, wicked and false pamphlets were dispersed, in which 
it was asserted, that those, who were thus cruelly burnt, 
were only Anabaptists, and some turbulent persons who, by 
their perverse conceits, were attempting to overthrow not 
only religion, but the whole order of civil government. Per- 
ceiving that, by this artifice, the crafty courtiers of Francis 
designed to cover the crime of shedding innocent blood, and 
to cast a false reproach on those holy martyrs, and also from 
that time to secure to themselves, under this pretence, the 
privilege of persecuting the Reformers, even to death, with- 
out the hazard of exciting the resentment or compassion of 
any on account of their sufferings, I determined that my si- 
lence could not be excused from perfidy ; and that it was 
my duty to oppose those proceedings with all my po^ver. 

The reasons for my publishing the Institutes were : — 
Firsts that I might vindicate, from unjust reproaches, those 
brethren whose death was precious in the sight of the Lord. 
SeconcUify because similar punishments threatened many de- 
fenceless and oppressed persons, for whom I was anxious to 
excite, at least, some compassion and solicitude among foreign 
nations. This work was not then so full and laborious as it 
now is, scd hreve dimtaxat Enchiridion tunc in lucem prodiitj 


but a short Manual only was then pul^lislied, having solely 
in view, to testify the faith of those whom I saAr wickedly 
put to death, by the impious and perfidious courtiers of the 
King. Besides, tliat I by no means sought to increase ray 
own fame, is evident from my inmiediate departure from 
Basil, when as yet no one in that city knew me to be the au 
tlior. This I continued to conceal, as it was ray determin- 
ed purpose to be unknown, until I was retained at Geneva, 
not so ranch by counsel and intreaty, as by the formidable 
and solemn injunction of William Farel, which arrested me, 
not otherwise than if God from Heaven had laid his pow- 
erful hand upon me. 

As the wars had. obstructed the direct road to Strasburg, 
I had determined to pass rapidly through tliis city ; and to 
make no longer stay than for a single niglit. A short time 
before this, the Papacy had been overthrown by the labours 
of those excellent men, Farel and Peter Yiret. IMatters were 
however yet unsettled, and the city was divided into cor- 
rupt and noxious factions. A certain man, who by a base 
defection has since returned to the Papists, immediately made 
me known. Farel, warm with incredible zeal for spreading 
the Gospel, instantly exerted all his inlluence to retain me. 
When he understood!, that my purpose was to devote myrelf 
to private and retired studies, and found that he prevailed 
not at all with me by entreaties, he proceeded even to the 
imprecation — That God would curse my retirement, if I should 
withJiold my assistance in so great necessity. Struck with 
awe by this, I omitted my journey ; but so conscious was I 
of my bashfulness and timidity, that / would not pledge my- 
self certainly to undertake the pastoral charge. 

Scarcely four months had passed, when we were attack 
ed, on the one hand, by the Anabaptists, and on the other, 
by a wicked apostate who, relyiiig on the clandestine assist- 
ance of certain Syndicks, waF enabled to give us very much 

^38 LIFE OF CALVIN. letters, 

trouble. In the mean time, domestick seditions agitated us 
extensively in continual succession. Notwithstanding I am, 
from my natural disposition, timid, flexible and without cou- 
rage, yet I was compelled to bear these impetuous tumults 
at my very entrance on the rudiments of office. Although 
I was not overwhelmed by these tumultuous waves, yet so 
great magnanimity did not sustain me, but that I rejoiced, 
beyond ^vhat was becoming, when I was so factiously eject- 
ed from my office. Being discharged, and free from the 
obligation of my calling, I determined, in the first place, to 
repose myself in retirement ; when that most excellent Mi- 
nister of Christ, Martin Bucer, drew me back to my first 
station, by an adjuration similar to that used by Farel. 
Awakened by the example of Jonah, which he proposed, I 
entered upon the office of Teacher. Although I w^as uni- 
form in avoiding publick celebrity, I know not by what 
means I was induced to attend the imperial conventions, 
where, willing or unwilling, I must of necessity appear pub- 
lickly in the presence of multitudes. Afterwards, when the 
Lord, by shewing mercy according to his word, had by 
his marvellous strength dissipated those counsels, which were 
as wicked, as the endeavours of the factious to execute them 
were sanguinary, a necessity was laid upon me of being 
brought back again to my original station, against the de- 
sires of my heart. Although the prosperity of this Church 
was of such high concern, that I would willingly have uHt 
dergone death for its sake, yet my timidity suggested a 
great variety of excuses, why I should not afresh subject my 
shoulders to a burden so oppressive. At last, however, the 
obligation and repsonsibility of my office determined me to 
restore myself to the flock from which I had been violent- 
ly separated ; yet with what deep sorrow, abundant tears, 

and extreme anxiety, the best of Beings is my witness. 

From that time, with what various conflicts he 



has exercised me, and with what trials he has proved me, if 

I would relate thera, the history would be long. 

Geneva, July 23, 1557. 


John Calvin to Francis Daniel. 

As I have to relate to you a multitude of events, Avhicli 
would afford me matter for a long letter, I shall limit my- 
self accordingly, and give you rather an index than a narra- 
tive, for should I indulge in details, they would grow to a 
volume. On the first of October, it is customary for the 
youths, who pass from their grammatical studies to the dia- 
lecticks, to be exercised in the performance of plays. At 
this anniversary, a play was performed in the College of Na- 
varre, which was filled with bitterness and raillery, rather 
than the severity of satire. Among the characters introduc- 
ed, was a Queen, busied about nothing but handling her 
needle, or holding her distaif. Megera enters, and with her 
torch makes a signal to the Queen to throw aside her needle 
and her distaff. The Queen at first refuses, but soon after 
yields to the Fur?/, from whom she receives the Gospel, 
which deprives her of all she before knew, and makes her 
almost forget herself. She presently becomes a tyrant, and 
persecutes the miserable and inoffensive, with every kind of 
severity. To these were added many other similar fictions, 
equally unjust in their application to the woman, whom the 
author evidently designed to insult. The affair, for some 
days, was kept secret. But, as truth is the daughter of time, 
the whole story was soon related to the Queen. Believing 
that if this insult was passed over unpunished, it might af- 
ford a dangerous example to all those who were fond of no- 
velty, she ordered the commander of the j^uards to repair 

240 LIFE OF CALVIN, letters, 

immediately to the College, Avitli an hundred men. At his 
order, they surrounded the house so that no one should es- 
cape, while with a few attendants he entered, but found 
not the author of the play. The offender had not, they 
saj^, anticipated this event, but being in the room of a 
friend, and hearing the tumult, he was secreted, till an op- 
portunity was afforded for his escape^ The officer of the 
guards seized the actors, but the Principal of the College 
made opposition, and during the altercation, stones were 
thrown by some of the students. Notwithstanding, he ap- 
prehended them, and obliged each of them to recite the part 
he had acted in the play. Exceptions were taken against 
the whole comedy. But as the author could not be found, 
they proceeded to secure those who might have suppressed 
the performance, and who yet sanctioned it with their per- 
mission, and dissembled about it afterwards. The first in 
authority, Lauret, requested to be lodged in the house of the 
Commissary, as a more decent place than a prison. Mori- 
nup, the next instructor in order, Avas commanded to remain 
at home, until he should be examined. What has been dis- 
covered since, I cannot say. Their trial is said to be defer- 
red till three days hence. Thus much for comedies. 

Some factious Divines have committed another outrage 
equally malicious, though not so daring. Having found, in 
examining the shops of the book-sellers, a work entitled The 
Mirror of a sinful Soul,% they placed it in the number of 
those books, the reading of which they prohibited. When 

* Tills work was In French verse, and contained several things not com- 
mon in the Church of Rome. lu It no mention was made of any men or wo- 
men saints, nor merits, nor any otlier purgatory but the blood of Jesus 
Christ. The prayer, commonly called the Salve ReginUy was by the Queen 
in this work applied to Jesus Christ. This book excited the indignation at 
NoelBcda, Principal of the College of Montaigu, and tlie rest of the Sor- 
bonne of his temper ; and this led to the acting of the play, in which the 
Queen of Navarre was insulted. Beza Eccles. Hist quoted by Baylc. 


the Queen heard this, she complained to the King, and con- 
fessed herself to be the author. The King ordered the di- 
rectors of the Parisian University to inform him, whether 
they had placed it among the books wliich inculcated the 
reprobated religion. If they had, to give liim the reason of 
their judgment. Nicolas Cop, a Physician, now Hector of 
the University, brought this enquiry before the Colleges of the 
arts, of medicine, philosophy, theology and the canon law. 
With the Professors of the arts, among whom he had the 
right of speaking first, he inveighed, in a long and l)itter 
speech, against the rashness of those, who had usurped that 
right over her IMajesty. 

He advised them not to expose themselves to so great danger, 
lest they should excite the anger of the King, l)y taking up 
arms against the Queen^ the protectress of virtue and litera- 
ture. And lastly he cautioned them against taking this fault 
upon themselves, and thereby cherishing the wickedness of 
those who are ready to attempt any tiling under this pretext, 
The Academy has done it, even Allien the Academy has given 
no such authority. They unanimously agreed, to abjure the 
Condemnation of the work. The Professors of theology, ©f 
canon law and medicine, passed the same decree. The 
Rector announced the decree of his order, and the other 
Professors followed his example ; and lastly, the Pastor of the 
Parish of St. Andrews, on whom the blame now devolved, 
after extolling in the most magnificent terms the integrity of 
the King, Avho had thus far conducted himself as the zeal- 
ous protector of the faith, added that there were some aban- 
doned men, who endeavoured to pervert his royal mind, wjio 
had conspired to eii'ect the fall of the sacred faculty ; but 
he was confident, that they would efiect nothing against the 
established constancy of the King. As to the business under 
consideration, he had indeed been appointed, by the dpcree 


^^2 LIFE OF CALVIN. ietters, 

of the Academy, to the office of Book-censor,^^ but nothing had 
ever been farther from his mind, than to attempt any thin§ 
to the injury of the Queen, whom be considered as a woman 
distinguished for the sanctity of her morals, and the purity 
of her reUgion ; in proof of ^vhich, he would only mention 
the funeral obsequies with which she had honoured the me- 
Biory of her departed mother. That he held as condemned 
only such ol^scene books as the Pantagrucl,] and the Sylvam 
amorum^ et ejus monetae ; and that he had placed this among 
those which were suspected, it having been published with- 
out the consent of the faculty ; the blame therefore rested on 
the decree by which it was forbidden to publish any book 
unapprobated, that respected matters of faith. In fine, said 
he, this will be my protection, that I did by the order of the 
faculty \s hat is now called in question. The fault, if there is 
any, is common to all, although they deny it. He said also, 
that he had spoken other things in French, that all might un- 
derstand whether he spoke the truth. But they were filled 
with indignation that he should endeavour to cover his igno- 
rance with such a cloak. The Bishop of Senlis, Stella and 
some of the Prefects of the royal palace were present at this 
debate. When the Pastor had finished, Parui, the Bishop of 
Senlis, said he had read the book, and found nothing worthy 
of censure, unless he had forgotten his theology. He closed 
by requesting, that a decree should be published, which 
would satisfy the King. The Rector, Cop, declared, that 
the Academy did not acknowledge, approve or take upon it- 
self liie censure, whatever it was, by which the book was num- 
bered among those which were condemned or suspected. 
That it might appear by Avhat reasons they defended them- 

*' The Censors of books were a body of Doctors, at Paris, who were es- 
tablished by the Pope in the fifteenth century, with the privilege of suppres- 
sing or correcting books after or before their publication. 

t A Romance of Rabelais. 



selves, the Ajcadeniy addressed letters to the King, in ^vhich 
they made their apology, and gave him thanks for haviui; 
called thcra together in a manner so kind and paternal. A 
decree was obtained from the King, ordering that the Bishop 
of Paris should appoint the Preachers in the diil'erent parish- 
es, as those who had made the election ])eforc, acting accord- 
ing to their own fantastical humour, had called to this service 
the most clamourous, and those filled \v ith a species of fury 
w hich they termed zeal, than which the sun was never more 
burning, and yet, with such zeal, they were zealous over the 
house of God. Farewell. 1533. 


BucER TO Calvin. 

Grace and peace be multiplied to you, my much esteemed 
brother, and fellow-labourer in the Lord. We have entreat- 
ed the illustrious and truly noble IMaurus Museus, personally 
at Basil, and now by letters, to obtain your consent to assist U3 
in our controversial disputes on religious subjects. We nuist 
acknowledge, as it appears to us, that the Lord has destined 
you to be eminently useful to his Churches, and will exten- 
sively bless your ministry. We are anxious that both we 
ourselves, our Churches, and those who are preparing for the 
ministry with us or elsewhere, should be in harmony ^v ith 
your sentiments on every point of theology. You must be 
sensible, how extensively injurious it ^vill be to the cause of 
the Churches, if a diiferenceof opinion is entertained, even on 
minor points, among the principle Pastors. If we arc faith- 
ful to ourselves, the Lord, I trust, will put it in oui- power to 
promote unanimily of opinion among the ^Ministers and 
Churches, especially if we can have your doctrines illustrated 
and enforced by yourself. 

2U LIFE OF CALVIN. letters. 

We will cheerfully meet you, in any place you will ap- 
point, for the purpose of a conference upon the whole admi- 
nistration of evangelical doctrines, preserving the highest re- 
spect for the truth of Christ, and a becoming regard for you 
in the Lord. This age has so advanced in the practice of calum- 
niating whatever is judiciously said, or correctly written, and of 
judging with the most rigid severity whatever is of an opposite 
character, that it becomes us to use every means to render 
our ministry as influential, as its importance is dignified. We 
are under the strongest obligations, to bring all our exertions 
into unison, both to secure our writings and discourses from 
any unmerited reproach ; and to exhibit the beauty of holi- 
ness in that simplicity of language which is adapted to the 
capacities of the very children in the Church of Christ. You. 
are sensible, my respected brother, and fellow-labourer in the 
Lord, how highly the Apostle Paul estimated the meetings 
and conferences of holy men, as tending to promote know- 
ledge and purity ; how cheerfully he travelled over land and 
sea to animate those believers, whom he knew to be anxious 
for the edification of the Church, to be frequent in their so- 
ciety. Appoint, therefore, a place, either at Basil, Bern, or 
even at Geneva, if the duties of your office confine you, that 
we may religiously confer upon subjects, which, although 
clearly apprehended by you, to our tardy understandings, 
require a more extensive illustration. The wise are debtors 
to the unwise, that they also may understand. It would af- 
ford us much pleasure, did our ecclesiastical duties, which 
we cannot neglect, allow us, even uninvited and transiently, 
to visit the Swiss Churches, I cannot well express how 
much it grieves me not to have known and conversed with 
you, when you were here. Capito, however, communicates 
every thing to me. I know not what evil spirit made him 
io forgetful as not to introduce you to me, which omision 


he now very much regrets. Farewell, most learned and ho- 
ly man. 
Strasburc, November 1, 1536. 


Calvin to Peter Caroli. 

Grace and peace to you from the Lord, who can inspire 
both you and us with a good understanding and a right 
heart. Since your situation is such, we should have prefer- 
red to have you presented yourself in person, to treat in our 
presence concerning a reconcihation, rather tlian tJiat you 
sliould attempt this by a letter. You vehemently labour to 
prove, that you did not excite disturbances in tlie Church 
without just cause ; as if there could be some good reason for 
exciting those disturbances. Grant that you were not treat- 
ed in that manner, by the brethren, whicli you ouglit to 
have been. Would this indeed furnish you with a right to 
raise such a tumult? Will you say, that it was the Spirit 
of God that influenced you to declare war upon us all ? I 
do not say this to upbraid you ; I wish I was permitted to 
be wholly silent. But while you connect all those a\ illi Sa- 
tan, \\'ho did not, at least according to your opinion, treat 
you with sufticient equity, you certainly suppose them to be 
very stupid, if you imagine that this business can be passed 

over in silence. You still glory in this, that 

you have attempted nothing against the Gospel even at 
Metz. But by what metliod \\ ill you prove this to us ? K 
any one carries on a warfare with a i)rofound servant of 
Christ, and instead of aiding, obstructs, in every possible 
manner, the kingdom of Christ, would it not be strange if 
you should declare such a man to stand on the side of thr 
Gospel ? Look, I beseech you, again and again, to the end 

246 LIFE OF CALVIN. letters. 

of your course. We hold a ministry in no manner separat- 
ed from Christ. If you doubt this, we still have the certain 
and confident testimony of our conscience. You may flatter 
yourself as you will ; you M^ill at last find, that it is hard 
kicking against the pricks. In the mean time, how are you 
able to injure us ? You will call us hereticks. Where ? 
Among those, for instance, who hold you as a heretick, 
and at this very moment expose your falsehoods. Among 
the pious and the learned, I fear no injury from your 
reproaches. They see all these thmgs in that light, in 
which I would have you receive them, and call them 
to mind before that God vvhose presence you begin to 
acknowledge. And T beseech you do not meditate your de- 
fence by the condemnation of that injustice in others, for 
which you want not only a foundation, but even a pretext. 
If you will still persevere in this way, I shall be satisfied. 
I would not, by any means, have you cast away all hope and 
courage. For if you Avill exhibit to us the true and sub- 
stantial index of a right mind, we are sincerely prepared to 
have you return immediately into our favour, and have afl 
things buried, forgiven and erased wholly from the memo* 
ry. I wish you were able, Caroli, to inspect my breast ; 
for there is nothing I more desire, than that you should iu 
the first place be reconciled to God, that a lasting union 
might be formed lietween us. But, believe me, you will ne« 
ver acceptably serve the Lord, unless you lay aside your 
haughtiness and bitterness of tongue. If you have then a 
mind to return into favour with us, we are prepared to em- 
brace you, and to render you every office of kindness in our 
power. But mq are not able to enter into that compact 
which you demand ; for how shall we at this time promise 
you a Church ? In the first place, you know, that Churches 
are not at our disposal ; besides, with what conscience should 
wc promise tliat to you, l^efore it is evident, that we agree 



in doctrine. You do not dissemble but that as yet you dif- 
fer from us ; and yet you would have us designate a place 
for you as a teacher. Weigh, yourself, the extreme impro- 
priety of this. Were we to be so obsequious to you, you 
would correctly judge us to Ije something more than stupid. 
But to conclude, I beseech you to examine thorouglily the 
whole cause, by yourself, with a composed and sedate mind, 
and weigh this letter in the scales of candid and impartial 
judgment. You certainly know, that it is the highest wis- 
dom to turn from the evil course into which you have en- 
tered. If you will make the experiment, no office of friend- 
sliip shall be wanting to you, when restored, from me, and 
Farel seriously promises the same for himself. You will re- 
member, that the charity which you so severely demand of 
others, must be shewn, in some measure, towards others. If 
I seem to be somewhat too severe, think what your letter 
deserves. I mention this only to profit you ; what I have 
written, is for the purpose of calling up your sins to your 
remembrance. Farewell, my brother in the Lord, if you 
suffer yourself to be esteemed and to hold the place of a bro- 
ther. The Lord Jesus Christ guide you by the spirit of 
counsel and prudence, that from tliose dangerous rocks, 
against which you have broken, and that tempestuous sea on 
which you are tossed, j^ou may be received safe into the 
haven of rest. 

Your sincere friend, JOHN C ALAIN. 

Strasburg, August 10, 1540. 

P. S. Farel bids you to Ije in health, and wishes that you 
may be sincerely converted to the Lord, and so may you 
be prepared to return to our friendship and fraternal union, 
as we ourselves arc prepared to embrace you. 

348 LIFE OF CALVIN. jdetters. 


Calvin to Farel. 

I am so overwlielmed, by the death of Coraud, that I can- 
not put any limits to my sorrow. My daily occupations, 
have no power to retain my mind from recurring to the event, 
and revolving constantly the impressive thought. The dis- 
tracting impulses of the day are followed by the more tortur- 
ing anguish of the night. I am not only troubled with 
dreams, to Avhich I am inured by habit, but I am greatly en- 
feebled by those restless watchings, which are extremely in- 
jurious to my health. But what wounds my mind so deeply, 
is the heinousness of the circumstances, if the suspicions are 
true, and I am forced, in opposition to my wishes, to give 
them some credit. To what length, will posterity go, when 
such monstrous things are perpetrated in the very commence- 
ment of our labours. I fear, and not without reason, that 
this wickedness will be shortly punished by some dreadful 
calamity of the Church. It is in fact no small token of di- 
vine displeasure, which w^e now experience, that amidst the 
scarcity of good men, the Church should be deprived of Co- 
raud, whose talents and piety placed him among the first of 
that character. Shall we not then, my brother, mourn this 
distressing calamity, and be in bitterness under the chastise- 
ment of our Father ? But however oppressed with grief we 
still have the light of consolation, springing up from those tes- 
timonies of affection and respect, by which his acquaintance 
amply prove their exalted opinion of his abihty and integrity. 
And the I^ord will not permit the iniquity of our enemies to 
remain concealed even from the eyes of men. They have 
not gained a single hair by his death. He still bears testimo- 
ny against their wickedness, at the tribunal of God ; and his 


accusing voice will more clearly sound destruclioa in their 
ears, than if the Almighty himself should shake the earth. 

The Lord has spared us, to survive Coraud. Let us be 
diligent to follow his example ; and watchful to tread in the 
path of increasing light, till we shall have finished our course. 
Let no difficulties dismay us, or any weight of earthly suffer- 
ing impede our progress toAvards that rest into which, we trust, 
he is received; Without the hope of this glory to cheer us 
in our way, we shall be overcome with difficulties, and driven 
to despau'. But as the truth of the Lord remains firm and 
unshaken, so let us a]>idc in the hope of our caUing, until the 
hidden kingdom of God be made manifest. 

Our adversaries have sounded the alarm, by an open decla- 
ration of war at JMinden, which being merely on a religious 
account, we are all implicated. If the God of armies guards 
us by his strength, we shall have a firm and invincible pro- 
tection ; otherwise we can make but a feeble defence, and 
shall be easily overpowered. To this asylum let us unitedly 
have recourse ; for it will remain unmoved though the 
earth should be shaken to its centre. We shall not cease to 
solicit a Council until it is obtained. 

Sonerius has presented another question for our discussion ; 
whether it is law ful for him and others in like circumstances, 
to receive the Lord's Supper, from the hands of such pollu- 
ted men, or even to commimicate with them ? On this 
question, there was no difference between Capito and myself. 
We answered, that Christians ought to have an aversion to 
schisms, and if possible avoid them. Such should be their 
reverence for the ministry, and the sacrament?:, that wherev- 
er these are perceived to exist, there the Church sliould be 
acknowledged. Let the Ministers, therefore, by whom God 
permits the Church to be governed, be what they may, if the 
signs of the true Church are perceived, it will I)e better not 
to separate from the cojumunion. Nor is it an objection, 

250 LIFE OF CALVIN. xetter^, 

that some impure doctrines are there delivered ; for there is 
scarce any Church which retains none of the remains of igno- 
rance. It is sufficient for us, that the doctrine, on which the 
Church of Christ Is founded, should hold its place and influ- 
ence. Nor should we object, that one who fraudulently ob- 
tains, or even wickedly thrusts himself into the place of a true 
Minister, should not be considered as a legitimate Fastor. It 
is not the business of private persons to entangle themselves in 
these scruples. They communicate, in tiie sacraments, with 
the Church, who agree to have them dispensed by the hands 
of those whom they consider as holding the standing of INIinis- 
ters. And although it belongs to the members of the Church, 
to know who or what their Pastors are, and whether they 
hold their office justly or unjustly, yet they ought to suspend 
any judgment until they are able to settle the question in a 
lawful manner. Although they should employ such persons, 
there will be no danger, that they should appear to aclmow- 
ledge them with approbation, or settle them by stipulated 
contract. In this manner they will give testimony of their 
patience, by bearing with those Avhom they suppose worthy 

of condemnation, in a regular and soleum judgment. 

1 entreat you, my brother, in this age of iniquity, 

to endeavour to retain all who are in any degree tolerable. 
Concerning ceremonies, see that the brethren do not contend 
with the same obstinacy as their neighbours. Let all things 
be conducted so that we may be only the servants of peace 

and concord. The Lord preserve and strengthen you, 

my dear brother, by his Spirit, in all your trials. Your soli- 
citude for me requires that I should, in return, recommend 
to you to be careful of your health. You appear, it is said, 
to be very much worn down. I entreat you, my brother, to 
think so much of others as to remember, that you are still 
necessary to them, and the Church of Christ. A thousand 



salutations to all my brethren with you, to A^iret, &c, Capi- 
to, Sturmius and Firmius salute you. 
SrnASBURG, October 24, 1538. 


Extracts fkobi Calvin's Letter to the Genevese Church. 
In the first place, laying allele all respect of per- 

sons, examine, I pray you, with what lionour the Lord 
would have you treat those whom he has appointed Pastors 
and IMinisters in his Church. He requires us to yield obe- 
dience with reverence, ^\lule they preach his word ; and he 
commands us to treat with honour those ^\ horn he has dig- 
nified with his embassy, and wills that we acknoA\ ledge them 
as his messengers. It is true, w hile we were with you, ^ve 
did not much contend about the dignity of our ministry, 
lest we should open some door of suspicion ; but as we are 
now placed l^eyond that danger, we may freely ofifer you our 
opinion. Had I intercourse with those Ministers, I would 
teach them the true nature of their oflice, and their obliga- 
tions to you. Let each o?ie, both Ministers and private per- 
sons, require of himself the correct duties of his own life, and 
observe more carefully what he owes to others^ than what is due 
from them to him. When this circumspection shall be exer- 
cised and adopted, as a fixed principle, then indeed those 
who hold the place of Ministers of the word, seeing your 
souls are committed to their government, will be acknow- 
ledged by you in the place of parents ; and held in reputa- 
tion and honour for their oflice' sake, which they discharge 
with you, from the vocation of God. Nor -w ould I be un- 
derstood by this, to take away that right whicli Ciod has 
committed to you, and to all his Churches, that they should 
examine ail Pa.^tors, distinguishing the pure from the vile, 


LIFE OF CALVIN. letters. 

and reprimand those who, under the disguise of Pastors, 

would exercise the rapacity of wolves. -^ But 

if you dispute and contend with your Ministers, even to 
noise and strife, as I hear is the case, it is very evident, that 
the ministry of those in whom the glory of the Lord Jesus 
Christ ought to be manifest, is subjected to disgrace and re- 
proach ; and is almost trodden under foot. It is your du= 
ty, therefore, attentively to take heed to this one thmg, lest 
while you suppose you only insult men, you in fact declare 
war against God himself. Nor should it appear to you a 
matter of small moment, that schisms and sects should be 
made and cherished in the Church, which the heart of eve- 
ry Christian must hear of with horror. When separations 
and withdrawings of this kind take place, between a Pastor 
and his people, the thing speaks for itself. Finally then, accept 
this advice : If you would hold me as a brother, let there be 
a solid union among you, a union worthy of the exalted 
name of brethren ; lest you should reject that ministry which, 
for your benefit, and the prosperity of the Church, I was 
compelled to approve, without respectmg the favour or fear 
of men. We have always admonished you to acknowledge 
the subversion of your Church as the necessary visitation of 
God, both for your chastisement and our own; and that 
you 'should not so much turn your strength against those 
wicked men, who were the instruments of Satan, as upon 
your own sins, which justly deserved a more severe punish- 
ment than that which has been inflicted. 
Strasbijrg, June 25, 1539. 


Calvin to Farel. 

To preclude your fmther anxiety for my long expected 
fetter, I shall forward it fresh from my pen, without waitiug 



for the arrival of Michael. I will pass at present my con- 
ference with IMcIancthon ; and state the progress of af- 
fairs since my last. The mijust conditions, boldly advanced 
by the Ambassadour of the Emperour, had well nigh termi- 
nated in the assumption of arms to settle the controversy. 
He proposed that our brethren should separate from the Sa- 
cramentarians.# You will be aware, that this is the artifice 
of Satan, who cherishes on this occasion the former animosi« 
ties which he sowed ; while at the same time new oiTences, 
like flaming torches, are kindled up to excite still greater 
contention. Our German brethren, however, while they re- 
fuse to acknowledge the Sacramentarians, are desirous of a 
union with the Helvetick Churches. The Emperour event- 
ually relinquished this point, which he had laboured to esta- 
blish as the means of efl'ecting a truce. I earnestly wish, 
that these things may be useful to the Churches ; but in look- 
ing them over in their efi:ects, they promise, in my opinion, 
nothing beneficial. The Elector of Saxony clearly appre- 
hends this, and though supposed to be habitually of a dilatory 
temperament, he is now fixed in the opinion, that we are under 
the necessity of hazarding the consequences of war. The Land- 
grave, beyond all expectation, dissuades from warlike mea- 
sures ; and although he consents to yield to his allies, if they 
shall judge it expedient, yet his influence has operated ex- 
tensively in abating the ardour of those who reposed a confi- 
dence in his constitutional promptitude. The prospect now 
looks favourable for an approaching truce, in which every 
attention will be given to those objects that may be condu- 
cive to unanimity of opinion. The adversaries,t intent to frus- 

* These were the followers of Zulnglius, of the Church of Zurich, be. 
tween whom and the followers of Luther there was a wide diftercnce of opL^ 
jiion, about the manner of the presence of Christ in the sacrament. 

I These were the Pope's agents, as appears from Scckendorf, vol. 2. an- 
no 1539. 

254 LIFE OF CALVIN. xetters. 

tratc our purpose in uniting the Churches, meditate only 
measures which may bring about the war. The Elector of 
Saxony will go from the Assembly to visit the Duke of 
Cleves, whose sister he married. If the Elector can draw 
the Duke over to the cause of religion, it will be a great be- 
nefit to the Church of Christ. He is the most powerful 
among the Princes of Lower Germany ; and is not exceeded 
in extent of dominion, nor surpassed in superiority of juris- 
diction, by any but Ferdinand himself. 

When Bucer last wrote me, nothing had been determined 
concerning the embassy to the King of France, for the safety 
of the brethren, and the support of the cause of religion. 
The subject will be discussed and arranged, when other mat- 
ters shall have been determined, as they will then be enabled 
to state their request to the King Avith more fulness and force 
of argument. 

My conference with Melancthon embraced a great varie- 
ty of subjects. Having previously written him concerning 
the agreement, I urged the necessity of obtaining the opinion 
of the best men, upon a matter of so much importance. I 
forwarded to him a few articles, in which I had concisely 
summed up the doctrines of truth. To these he consented 
without controversy, but stated that some in that quarter 
demanded something more full and explicit, and with such 
obstinacy and o\Trbearingness that he was, for some time, 
in danger of being considered as having wholly departed 
from their opinions. Although he did not suppose that an 
established agreement would continue long, he still wished 
that this union, whatever it might be, should be cherished, 
until the Lord should draw us on both sides into the unity 
of his truth. Doubt not but that Melancthon is wholly in 
opinion with us. 

It would be tedious to detail our conversations on a di- 
versity of subjects ; but they will afford us an agreeable to- 


pick at some future interview. When we entered on the 
fiubject of disciphne, he mourned, as we all of us do, about 
that unhappy state of the Church, whicli we are all allowed 
to deplore, rather than correct. You must not suppose, that 
you alone labour under the painful burden of ineffectu- 
al discipline. Every day new examples are occurring, 
which should excite us all to the most vigorous exertions, 
to obtain the desired remedy for these evils. A JMinister of 
mtegrity anddearning was lately ejecte<:l from Ulm, with 
the severest reproach, because he would not indulge them in 
their vices. He v/as dismissed with a very honourable re- 
commendation from all his colleagues, and especially from 
Frechthus. When this was reported at Augsburg, it excit- 
ed the most unpleasant sensations. These things have a ten- 
dency to encourage the licentious to consider it as a matter 
of sport, to interrupt the Pastors in their ministerial duties, 
and to drive them into exile. Nor can this evil be reme- 
died, as neither the people nor the Princes distinguish be- 
tween the brotherly discipline of Christ, and the tyranny of 
the Pope. 

It is the opinion of Melancthon, that we must yield, in a 
due degree, to the adverse winds of this tempestuous season ; 
and without despairing of eventual success, cast our eyes for- 
ward to some favourable moment, when our enemies may be 
less powerful, and we more able to introduce the remedy for 
these internal evils. Capito is strongly impressed with the 
belief that the Church is ruined, unless God shall supply some 
speedy succours, and good men become united in her defence. 
Despairing of doing any good, he has a desire for death as a 
release from his unprofitable labours. But if our vocation is of 
the Lord, of which we are confident, he will bless and succeed 
us through all the difficulties that may be thrown in our way. 
Let us attempt all remedies, and if they full, si ill let us per- 
sist in our calling to the last breath. 


The Waldensian brethren are indebted to me for a cr6miy 
one part of which I lent them, and the other I paid to their 
messenger, who came with my brother to bring the letter from 
Sonerius. I requested them to pay it to you, as it will part- 
ly pay you my debt, the rest I will pay when I can. Such is 
my condition now, that I have not a penny. It is singular, 
although my expenses are so great, that I must still live upon 
my own money unless I would burden my brethren. It is 
not easy for me to take that care of my health which you re- 
commend so affectionally. Farewell, beloved brother. The 
Lord give you strength and support in all your troubles. 

Fkankfort, March, 1539. 


Calvin to Farel* 

The day after I received your letter, the last but one, I set 
out for Frankfort. I omitted to answer it,, as my journey was 
entirely unexpected. Bucer having informed me that he 
could accomplish nothing concerning the cause of the breth- 
ren, I immediately started for that place, lest their safety 
should be neglected among the croud of business to be trans- 
acted. I was also anxious to confer with Melancthon on re- 
ligion, and the discipline of the Church. The entreaties of 
Capito and others furnished additional motives, as did also 
the pleasure I anticipated in the society of Sturmius and oth- 
er good men who were to accompany me. ■ - 

—As to the advice in answer to the questions of Soneri- 
us, I solemnly declare, that I recommended no other union to 
the brethren, than what is exhibited m the example of 
Christ, who did not hesitate to partake of the mysteries of 
God with^ the Jews, notwithstanding their deplorable impi- 
Qty. They weighed my advice with caution, and were dis- 


satisfied, that I made a diJ9fereiice between tlic Minister and 
the people. Of the dispenser of the ordinance, faith and 
prudence were required ; of the people, that each one exa- 
mine himself, and prove his own faith. But this will be 
easily explained when we have an opportunity of conversing 
on the subject. The evident judgments of God against those 
noxious spirits, who disturb the peace of the Church, aii'ord 
me some pleasure mingled with my grief, for I see that these 
scourges were not altogether unmerited. It is however de- 
cirable, that a gracious Providence would, by some means, 

free his Churches from such polluted members. You 

say very correctly, that their consciousness of guilt is accom- 
panied with an anxiety to have every thing buried in the 
deepest obscurity, lest their own personal baseness should be 
detected. Perplexed ^vith the subterfuges of the wicked, 
we must labour to the extent of our power, and leave the 
event to the infinitely wise management of God. I should 
be gratified in obliterating from the memory all those evils^ 
which cannot be remedied without injury to the cause. But 
it would be injurious to hide, in the bowels of the Church, 
those bitter animosities, hatreds and doctrinal differences, 
whose virulence would thus be nourished, till ultimately the 
body would be covered with infectious ulcers. Evils of this 
kind must be remedied, when lenient measures fail, with a 
reasonable severity. But when the circumstances will admit, 
a middle w ay should be pursued, to restore the dignity of 
the ministry, to bring back the health of the Church, to call 
into exercise forbearance for small offences, and leave no ne- 
cessity for intermeddling anew with evils concealed or sup- 
pressed. The irritation of some wounds is increased by ap- 
plications, and their cure only effected by quietness and neg- 
lect. We find this to be the slate of things at Frankfort. 

From the House of Saxony, the Elector, his brother, and 
his grandson Maurice, ar^ present, attended by four bundj'pd 


258 LIFE OF CALVIN. i^etters, 

horsemen. The Landgrave was accompanied by the same 
number. The Duke of Lunenbm^g arrived with less pomp* 
Others are present whose names I do not remember. The 
other confederates, the King of Denmark and the Duke of 
Prussia, and some others, sent Ambassadours. This is not 
strange, as it would be hazardous for them to leave their 
own dominions, at so great a distance, in the present confused 
and perilous state of aifairs. All were displeased, that the 
Duke of Wirtemburg, at the distance only of two days trav- 
el, should prefer his hunting and other diverting sports, to 
consulting for the safety of his country, and perhaps of his 
head. He apologized indeed by others, that he was not 
afraid to entrust the whole care to those whom he knew to 
be greatly interested in the issue of the business. Men of the 
first distinction were delegates from the cities. 

In the first session, "war was decreed by a unanimous suf- 
frage of the Assembly. At this time, two Electors, the Count 
Palatine, and Joachim of Brandenburg, with the Spanish Am- 
bassadour, Vesalis, the Bishop of Lunden, came into the Con- 
vention. They first opened the mandate of the Emperour, 
which authorized them to make peace, or agree upon a truce, 
with us, on such conditions as they should judge best. With 
laboured harangues, and accumulated arguments, they en- 
deavoured to persuade us to yield to terms of pacification. 
The point which they urged most strenuously, and on which 
they felt our influence most sensibly, was, that the Grand 
Turky would prosecute his warlike measures -h ith more vigour, 
in proportion as he saw Germany distracted with intestine 
wars : that having possessed himself of Wallachia, he held 
by treaty from the Poles, the right of a free passage through 
their dominions, and of course he was now threatening the 
territories of the Emperour with invasion. They moved us 
to draw up the conditions of a peace ; and if this could not 
be effected, they were anxious that a truce should be estab- 


LIFE or CALVIN. 259 

lished. We made no question of their sincerity and good 
faith. For Joachim was favourable to the cause of the Gos- 
pel, and the Palatine was by no means unfriendly to its suc- 
cess. But as our confidence did not repose with case on the 
mandates of Vesalis the Spaniard, we preferred that the af- 
fair should be arranged by the Electors, who exercised the 
supreme authority in the Empire. This was opposed by tlie 
Elector of Saxony, who, for various reasons, entertained an 
implacable aversion to the Elector of IMentz, and who, being 
uncle to Joachim, dared not consent to an Assembly from 
which his relative was excluded. Our advocates therefore, 
after stating the injuries they had received, and the causes 
which had forced them, unw illingly, into a war, proposed the 
conditions of peace. These conditions asserted the right of 
government over their own Churches, the authority of ap- 
pointing their own IMinisters, and of securing to those who 
united with them the privileges of their league. After these 
articles were presented, we left Frankfort. Bucer has since 
informed me, that the two Imperial Electors granted us 
something more than the Spaniard was willing to sanction. 
The reason of this arose from the necessity the Emperour 
was under, of courting the assistance of the Papists against 
the Turks, as well as ours ; so he endeavoured to please both 
parties without giving oifence to either. At the close, he 
required that, when tlie present state of aifairs should be 
changed, the learned and pious, who were disposed for union, 
should assemble and agree upon the articles of religion which 
were now in controversy ; and that the whole business should 
then be referred to a Diet of the Empire, in which all the 
controversies of the several branches of the German reformed 
Churches should be closed. This Ambassadour proposed, 
for the arrangement of these matters, a truce for one year. 
Our members are not satisfied \\ ith the shortness of the time, 
nor the uncertainty of the i«ue. Every thing thus remain* 

2m LIFE OF CALVIN. ukcjkbs. 

in suspense ; and unless the Emperour makes farther propo- 
sals, the continuance of war seems inevitable. 

The petition from Henry VIII. requested that an Anibas^ 
sadour, accompanied by Pliilip Melancthon, should be sent 
to assist in the more secure and correct establishment of the 
English Church. The Princes had no hesitation about send* 
ing an Ambassadour ; but were unwilling to send Melanc- 
thon, suspecting that he was too yielding and irresolute. H€ 
is, however, neither ignorant nor dissembling in the opinions 
which he forms ; and he even solemnly affirmed to me tliat 
their fears were unfounded. 

I belies e I know him perfectly ; and I ^ould as confident- 
iy trust him as Bucer, when he has to manage with men who 
wish to secure to themselves ample room foi' the indulgence 
of tlieir vices, Buoer is so zealous in spreading the Gospel, 
that, contented with conformity to the principal points, he 
too carelessly gives up those smaller ones, which may hav« 
an extensive influence in their consequences. Henry himself 
is, in fact, but ^lalf instructed. He prohibits the marriage 
of Bishops and Priests, under the severe penalty of being de- 
prived of the power and privileges of their office ; retains the 
daily masses ; would preserve the seven sacraments ; and ihuB 
have a Gospel mutilated and dismembered, and a Churdh 
filled with many vanities. He moreover manifests the estab- 
lished mark of a weak head, by refusing the tf ansktion of the 
scriptures into the vulgar tongue, and proceeding to prohibit, 
'by a new edict, the reading of them by the common people. 
And to put the matter beyond a question, that he is not in 
jest, he has, to the grief of all the pious, lately caused an ho- 
nest and learned man to be burnt at the stake for denying the 
i-eal presence of the flesh of Christ in the sacramental bread. 

The Princes of the Empire, though generally incensed 
with such cruelties, will not relinquish the embassy, out of 
4»egard to the cause of religion, and its progress and securi- 



ty in that kingdom > The death of the son 

of Prince George, who had been confined on account of in- 
lanity, took place while the Convention ^vas sitting at Frank- 
fort. His successour will doubtless be JMaurice, whom I 
Earned among the confederates ; and of course tlie possessions 
of George will be soon added to support the little flock of 
Christ. So uncertain are the events which may change ex- 
tensively the present face of affairs. Our confidence is in 
God, and our duty is to pray fervently, that he would grant 
a favourable issue to the present confused and perplexed 
state of things. My success in the cause of the brethren, 
and the subjects of my conference with Philip, you will 
learn more minutely from Michael. ]\Iy letter is unfinished, 
but the messenger will not tarry. Farewell, beloved bro- 
ther. Salute Thomas and all the brethren from me. Ca- 
pito and Sturmius salute you. 

Yours, &c. JOHN CALVIN. 

March 16, 1539. 


Calvin to Farel. 

I do not remember a day, in the course of this year, in 
which I have been so overwhelmed with a croud of busi- 
ness. When the messenger called for my book, I had twcur 
ty sheets to revise, — to preach, — to read to the congre- 
gation, — to write four letters,— to attend to some con- 
troversies,— and to answer more than ten persons, who in- 
terrupted me for advice. Excuse me, — I write briefly, and 
Bot very accurately about any thing. The deliberations of 
the Convention at Frankfort, we shall know correctly when 
Bucer returns. From his letters he may be expected in 
about seveai days, lie writes me, that the Princes arc un- 

2G2 LIFE OF CALVIN. jletxers. 

commonly decisive in defending the Gospel. At Smalkald, 
Ihey displayed, in a small affair, the resolution with which 
they are inspired, by tearing down some irapmx images with 
their altars, and abolishing the Elevation in the Lord's Sup- 
per. Silence becomes those who, with such oscitancy, have 
been dreaming of an undefined moderation. I just afford 
you a taste, that you may understand how removed they 
are from trepidation. Our Senate has proved itself to be an- 
imated Avith a determined spirit, by committing to prison 
the Superior of a Nunnery, who squandered away the proper- 
ty of the Convent. An officer of the Empire, at the request 
of the Bishop, ordered her to be released. The confederate 
Princes sanctioned the conduct of the Senate, and declared 
that they would take the case imder their own cognizance. 
A messenger w as sent to the officer of the Empire, informing 
him, that the Senate would not respect his judgment, w-hat- 
ever it might be. We expect them, of course, to hurl their 

innocuous thunder. -I cannot say any more. 


April 20, 1539. 


Calvin to Farel. 

In my late interview with Blelancthon, I did 

not disguise my displeasure at the multitude of ceremonies, 
which renders their form of worship not very different from 
Judaism. He refused to contend against my reasoning, and 
admitted that they retained too many foolish or at least 
useless ceremonies. But he pleaded as an excuse the neces- 
sity they were under of yielding to the obstinacy of the 
Canons of Wittemberg ; but said, that there was no other 
city in Saxony so loaded with this burden, and that they 


should by degrees be delivered from tJic weight of this med- 
ley. He added, that Luther was as far from approbating 
the ceremonies, which he retained, as he was from com- 
mending our unreservedncss in their rejection. I wish our 

friend N could become acquainted with the sincerity of 

IMelancthon ; it would divest him of all his suspicions about 
his integrity. It does not follow, because Bucer formerly 
defended the ceremonies of Luther, that he w ishes or at- 
tempts to establish them. Nothing could persuade him to ap- 
prove of singing in Latin. He abhors images. Some things 
he despises, and cares nothing about others. If these things 
are once banished from the service of the Church, they will 
never agahi be permitted to re-pass her threshhold. He 
disapproves of the separation between us and Luther, on 
account of those little external observances. Nor do I ac- 
count them a just cause of separation. The German league 
has nothing in it which ought to offend a pious heart. Why, 
I ask, should they not combine the strength which the Lord 
has given them, for the common defence of the Gospel ? 
They do not draw any one into their society by force, nor 
any other restraint. Those cities, w hich excel in their at- 
tachment to evangelical truth, were the most in favour of 
the agreement with the Papists and their Bishops at Nurem- 
berg. I wish N knew what arts were made use of in 

the late Convention, and with what obstinacy they were re- 
sisted. The Ambassadour of the Emperour exerted all his 
influence, to draw them off from the Helvelick Churches. 
He did not name them, but he demanded that they should 
not take up the cause of the Sacramentariaiis, They answer- 
ctl, that they were in brotherly comnmnion w Ith thogc whom 
he called Sacramentarians. How much resolution they ma- 
nifested in their last defence ! The Emperour imposed the 
rule, that during the truce they should receive no one into 
the league. They consented, but with thli oonditiou ; that 

264 LIFE OF CALVIN. letters. 

if any should receive tlie Gospel, they should be safe, al- 
though not members of the agreement. And if they were 
attacked, they declared that they would defend all those as 
brethren, who supported the cause of Christ. They, in 
their turn, required of the Emperour, that no combinations 
should be formed, during that period, against the Gospel. 
The Emperour wished the Priests should enjoy the ecclesias- 
tical revenues till the end of the truce. The confederates 
consented, on condition that they supported the Churches 
and the Schools ; and in this they persisted to the last. Why 
should I relate the distinguished fortitude of this city ? 
When the conditions of the Emperour were produced in the 
Convention, demanding that all leagues formed after the Di- 
et of Nuremberg# should be declared void, that we should 
not enter into any new ones, and that both parties should re- 
main unmolested, until a conference should be held for re- 
forming the German Church ; a decree of the Senate was 
immediately issued, declaring, That they would see their 
children and their wives butchered in their sight, their pro- 
perty and privileges destroyed, the city rased to the ground, 
and themselves subjected to a massacre, before they would 
sulmiit to measures, which would destroy the progress of the 
Gospel of Christ. My Farel, consider how unjust we should 
be to such men to remain idle, and censure those who, 
with a resolution worthy of their cause,. will not be driven 
from the line of duty by any dangers or terrors which may 
threaten their destruction. Affairs are doubtless verging to 
a battle. Indeed an attack has been made in the suburbs 
of Lunenburg. It is our duty, you say, to avoid giv- 
ing offence to good men— I grant it— but it is equally their 
duty to avoid taking offence too rashly and without rea- 



April, 1539. 

' In 1532, 



Caxvin to Farel. 

We have at length returned home, after an absence of 
almost three months. Our delay was occasioned by our ad- 
versaries, who constantly were devising new artifices to de- 
lude us by spinning out the time. AVhen the Emperour 
was said to be approaching, we supposed that they would 
have a good pretext for their own justification. For during 
the whole period they had eluded any conference by the most 
impudent shufflings ; and why did they not pretend that they 
could have no consultation, since the Emperour was now 
going to Ratisbon to hold the Diet ?# But when all were 
preparing to depart, they unexpectedly gave us an opportu- 
nity for a conference. They were perhaps apprehensive, 
that they could not escape the accusation of dishonesty, if 
1,hey did not commence, at least in appearance, when we 
had submitted to all their obtrusive conditions. For they 
had spent a whole month in proposing absurdities for oui' 
admission, expecting that by our refusal, they should have 
an ostensible reason for accusing us with having prevented 
the conference. By our patience, we frustrated all tlieir ex- 
pectations, by yielding to every condition which did not 
materially affect injuriously the cause of truth. At length 
the colloquy was opened. Eckius, being chosen by our ad- 
versaries for their advocate, commenced with a speech of 
two hours. Melancthon answered more concisely. After 

• The Conference at Worms was appointed to be opened on the 23th of 
October 1540. From this time, nothing was effected till the 1.3th of Janua- 
ry, 1541. On this day, they agreed upon a colloquy. This was after the 
Emperour, by Granville his Prime Minister, bad published Ui'^ rlpitermrjw- 
^ion to hold a Diet at Ratisbon in March. 


266 LIFE OF CALVIN. letters. 

dinner, Eckius again proceeded ])oisterousIy. On the follow- 
ing day, Philip answered him with great moderation. Eck- 
ius spoke again after dinner. The judges then pronounced, 
that they had disputed long enough about that article. # 
To the injustice of this sentence we objected, that it was in- 
tolerable that our adversaries should both open and close 
the debate. But Granville persisted in his sentence Avith the 
inflexible obstinacy of an Areopagite. Permission was ob- 
tained, for our advocate to speak again, on condition, howe- 
ver, that our adversaries should close the dispute. On the 
following day, Philip closed his argument, and Eckius, with 
more moderation than usual, ended the debate. I will not 
attempt to describe the monkish fastidiosity, the great au- 
dacity, insolence and impudence, w ith which this ostenta- 
tious man vociferated. Imagine to yourself a barbarous 
sophist, exulting foolishly among his illiterate companions, 
and you will have the half of Eckius. Gran- 
ville, having assembled the Diet, read the Emperour's letter 
by which it was dissolved ; and the promise was given, that 
he would examine the unfinished business at Ratisbon. Some 
of the Divines were ordered to repair to that city. The 
Senate has ordered me to join Bucer. Melancthon obtained 
this by particular application. I mention this, that you 
need not suspect me of endeavouring to be absent, to avoid 
any application from Geneva. "When he took leave of our Am- 
bassadour, he so earnestly entreated him to have me sent with 
Bucer, that I was quite put to the blush ; and when I ex- 
postulated with him, he answered me, that he had the best 
of reasons, and that my excuses Mould not prevent his urg- 
ing them, and insisting that I should be brought to that 
Diet. Just before they offered us a conference, Gryneus, 

* The dispute commenced upon the doctrine of original sin. Eckius and 
Mclaucthon were the only collocutors appointed. On the third day, Gran- 
vilie dismissed the conference. Dupin. 


Sturniius and myself, having requested permission to return 
home, we packed up our things, and went to take leave of 
our friends. When we came to Philip, he said, " The otii- 
ers may go, but I will not sulier Calvin to go at this time" ; 
and immediately ran to the house to prevent my departure. 
You see that my appointment was not of my own j)rocure- 
ment. But I am foolish in attempting to wipe oft' a suspi- 
cion which probably never entered your mind, and wliich 
you would not foster if it did. On my return home, I had 

a great deal of business with Claudius. 

My situation is uncertain. I shall be obliged to leave my 
domestick ailairs unsettled, and be absent as nuich as six or 
eight months. I need not mention how injurious to my 
personal interest my absence from this place must be. This 
is the reason that my salary is not augmented. That which 
is now paid me scarcely yields mc and my family a support 
for eight months. But I do not complai)i, as I must impute 
it to myself. I will write you again before I leave home. 
Farewell, my beloved brother. Salute all the brethren af- 

Strasburg, January 28, 154L 


James Bernard to Calvin. 

3Iy venerable Father, That I did not write you by Lew- 
is du Four, the Genevese Ambassadour, was neitluu- from 
indifference for you, nor regret at your reinstatement as the 
Pastor of this Church. I was absent at Lausanne, to con- 
sult with Peter Virct a])out matters that related to our 
Church. It is indeed a bigh gratification to me, that you 
are acknowledged by our brethren as their good and faith- 
ful Pastor ; and especially as T kno^\ this to be effected by 

^68 LIFE OF CALVIN. i^etters. 

the influence of the Holy Spirit. On the Lord's day, at our 
Church at Rippa, I found the house almost deprived of its 
Pastors. Morentus and Marcutius, who had the care of it, 
had departed, and Henry alone was with me. But what 
were we in governing so great a congregation ? Beholding 
the people all in tears, I admonished them to turn unto the 
Lord thek God, and supplicate of him, who was the Pastor of 
Pastors, a Pastor whom he would bless to the prosperity of his 
Church. I did not indeed think of you, having given up 
all hopes of your return. The people followed my advice 
with great devotion. The next day, the Council of two 
hundred convened and called for Calvin. The following 
day, a general meeting assembled. All exclaimed, We de- 
mand the return of Calvin, the honest man, the learned Mi- 
nister of Christ. When I heard this I praised God, who 
had done what was marvellous in our eyes, in making the 
st(me which the builders rejected become the head of the cor- 
ner. Come then, my venerable father in Clu-ist. All sigh 
after you. Your estimation in the hearts of this people will be 
testified by their affectionate reception of you. You will find 
lue not an opposer, according to the representations of some, 
(may God forgive them,) but a faithful and sincere friend, de- 
voted to your wishes in the I^rd. Come then to Geneva, to 
a people renovated, by the grace of God, through the la- 
hours of Viret ; and may the Lord hasten your return to our 
Church, whose blood he will require at your hands, for he 
has set you a watchman unto the house of our Israel. Fare- 


Geneva, February 6, 1541. 



John Calvin to James Bernard, a brother and Minister, 
in the dispensation of the word, in the Church of Geneva. 

Your letter was handed me at the moment I was prepar- 
td to enter on my journey. You will therefore excuse me, 
should my answer be later than you expected ; and should it 
be short and incorrect, as I write in haste on my way. Your 
urgent request, that I should undertake the government of the 
Church of Geneva, I doubt not, is made in good faith, and 
with the best disposition, as you judge that its order cannot 
otherwise be restored, than by the assistance of those, whose 
departure occasioned it so severe afflictions. This argu- 
ment, which you so studiously use, always had much weight 
on my mind. It was indeed because I feared that I should 
resist the will of God, that I dared not reject that vocation. 
My conscience now holds me bound in the calling which I 
now sustain, nor will it easily permit me to leave it. Af- 
ter that calamity, my ministry appeared to me unhappy and 
unpropitious, and I wholly determined with myself, that I 
never would undertake the ministerial ofRce, unless the Lord 
himself should call me with a clear voice, that is, unless such a 
necessity fell upon me as I could not overcome. The Stras- 
burgese perseveringly used every means to drive me from 
this determination in which I persisted, till at length they 
succeeded. But they did not break my purpose in the first 
attack. When they perceived that they could not overcome by 
repeated arguments, they at last threatened me, that I could no 
more escape, by evasion, the liand of God, than Jonah formerly 
did by his flight. It is not therefore strange that I should 
not lightly leave that station in which the I^ord has placed 
me. I am not, however, so fixed in this place, but that I 

270 LIFE OF CALVIN. i^etters. 

am prepared, at the same time, to remove as often as it shall 
be determined by the judgment of the Church. But I 
shalJ not remove without a lawful order ; and this was the 
reason ^A'hy I referred the whole business to the judgment 
of the Church. My brethren and colleagues, w^hom for 
their merit I respect in the Lord, and whose authority I es- 
teem not otherwise than that of parents, incline rather to this 
course, that I with Bucer should go to Geneva, and after 
ascertaining the state of the Church, should determine 
what the good of the cause requires. But this we can by 
no means immediately accomplish, as we are now on our way 
to tlie Diet of Ratisbon. As soon as we return home, you 
need not doubt but that the subject will receive our atten- 
tion. The beginning of this business you know always just- 
ly displeased me. And from the first unfavourable entrance 
upon it, I expected no good, unless, as I have always be- 
sought the liord, he should make you and your colleagues 
faithful Ministers to himself. In the mean time, many 
things are reported, which I am not pleased to believe, nor 
permitted to deny. It is with great grief I have heard 
those things, which I foresaw would tend to the disgrace of 
the sacred ministry. I have heard Farel and Coraud as 
well as myself are so unkindly treated, that it affects and 
wounds my mind with painful feelings. I confess for my- 
self, that I hold Farcl and Coraud in so high estimation for 
their piety, learning and integrity, that I cannot hear them 
reproached with indiil'erence. I do not dissemble, that you 
may understand that I treat Avith you candidly and frank- 
ly on this subject. But since you discover an excellent mind 
in your letter, I congratulate you, trusting that your inward 
thoughts correspond ^vith your words. From me, in my 
turn, you may fully expect, what I certainly engage, all that 
is to be expected, first from a man who loves peace and 
hates contention ; secondly, from a friend most studious of 


your welfare ; and lastly, from one wlio is ready to forgive 
ofi'ences. In the mean time, I call you to a\ itness, by the 
name of God, and by his tremendous judgment, that you 
should remember that all your transactions are with him, 
^vho will hereafter, with the severest scrutiny, demand a rea- 
son for all your conduct; and who will not suli'cr himself to 
be satisfied with words and trifling excuses. Therefore, consi- 
der seriously with yourself, that as 3^ou are engaged in a call- 
ing the most exalted of all, so it is fraught w ith the greatest 
danger, unless you apply yourself to your office with integri- 
ty of heart and the highest diligence. If you desire my 
approbation, I declare before hand, that I ask nothing but 
that you render a faithful and sincere service to the Lord. 
Farewell, my dear brother. May the Lord Jesus prepare 
and strengthen you by his Spirit to every good work. Sa- 
lute, I pray you, all the pious in my name. 
Ulm, March 1, 1541. 


Calvin to Viret. 

When your letters were handed me, I was prepared for my 
journey, and in the course of my life I do not remember one 
more tumultuous. I now catch a moment at Ulm, to an- 
swer you m a brief and confused manner. A traveller in 
a tavern has not much time to meditate, and properly ar- 
range what he writes. Your letter, if I correctly remember, 
is divided into two parts— In the first, you would prove 
that the Church at Geneva should not be abandoned. In 
the second, you contend that 1 ought to hasten my return, 
lest Satan should take advantage of my dilatoriness, and 
throw some impediment in the way. To tliis I answer, as I 
have always done, thai there iis no place on euith, I so much 

272 LIFE OF CALVIN. letteks. 

dread as Geneva ; not because I bear any hatred to thenij, 
but because I see so many difficulties in my way, which I 
am very far from being able to surmount. When I call to 
mind the events of times past, I cannot help shuddering at 
the thought of being obliged to throw myself afresh into the 
midst of those former contentions. If my business was to be 
with the Church only, my mind would be more easy ; at 
least I should feel less dread. But you must understand 
much more than I can write. Take in a word, that I know, 
by various channels, that he, who can most injure me, bears 
still an implacable hatred against me. When I consider the 
numerous ways which lie open to him for doing evil, how 
many instruments are prepared for exciting the flames of con- 
tention, and how many occasions will present themselves to 
him, against which lean by no foresight provide, I am whol- 
ly disheartened. Many other things in that city give me 
no small anxiety. As I progress in experience, I am more 
sensible of the arduous olfice of governing a Church. I 
am not, however, unwilling or unprepared, as far as I un- 
derstand my ability, to afford any assistance to that unhappy 
Church. These thoughts disturb and perplex my mind 
Av ith delaying anxieties ; but their influence will not prevent 
me from doing every thing which I may judge to be for its 
welfare. Far el is my witness, that I have never uttered a 
word against their calling me to return ; I only entreated him 
that he would not, by officiousness, lose a second time that 
Church already in ruins. I have given sufficient proof, that 
nothing is more conformable to my wishes, than to give up 
my life in the discharge of my duty. I do not dissemble 
when I say this. When the Genevese Ambassadours came 
to Worms, I entreated oiu* friends wdth tears, that, omitting 
all consideration of me, they should consult, in the presence 
of God, what would be most beneficial to the Chm'ch, which 
implored their assistance. When we came to tiie house, al- 



though no one urged this question, I did not cease to im- 
portune them with my prayers, to consider seriously upon 
this subject ; and tliey were not wanting in their duty. As 
we suspected, they ahuost immediately decreed, that I should 
be united with Bucer. But I declare to you, as I did to 
Farel, that this was not fairly settled ; for it was determined 
before we returned from the Convention of "Worms, by the 
influence of those who least consulted the goo<^l of Geneva. 
If you consult me, I see no reason why I should be sent on 
this mission to Ratisbon ; but being appointed, I could not 
refuse, unless I wished to hear myself every where abused. 
When I received your letters, I was not at liberty to delibe- 
rate. I have stated the fact as my excuse. You have now 
an answer to both your enquiries. I never have, I never 
can refuse to go to Geneva ; and I promise you, that my re- 
solution shall not be chacged, unless some more powerful ob- 
stacle closes up the way. I am charged with the care of 
that Church ; and I know not how it is, biit I feel myself 
more inclined to take the governmeint of it, if indeed the cir- 
cumstances demand it as my duty. It is agreed, that after 
our return from Ratisbon, I should go to^ Geneva with Bucer. 
We will then consult what will be most expedient, under 
the existing circumstances, for the re-estabJishment of a Pag- 
tor, and the renovation of the whole Church. The decision 
will have more influence, and the operation will be more ef- 
fectual, as we shall have present those from whom we have 
most to fear afterwards. When the business is once settled, 
they will be bound by their own judgment, and prevented 
from exclaiming against its operation ; and also from excit- 
ing others to disturb the established order. In the mean 
time, my brother, I entreat you for Christ's sake, to be of 
good courage. The more uncertain our continuance is in 
this life, the less we should be troubled about the delay of 
those events which Ave earnestly desire. There are many 


274i LII'E OF CALVIN. xetters. 

things I know, which must cause you trouble and anxiety ; 
but consider that these are trials appointed of the Lord, to 
support you till his coming. The day before I received 
your letters, I wrote to the Senate of Geneva, excusing my 
delay in coming to them ; and I doubt not but my excuse 
has been accepted. Farewell, my beloved brother. Salute, 
in my name, all who are devoted to the truth. May the 
Spirit of the Lord strengthen you for all good works. 
Ulm, March 1, 1541. 


Calvin to Fakel. 

I have Hot written you since I arrived, but I requested 
my friend Claudius to forward to you whatever he might 
receive from me. While waiting for a letter from you, I 
have been informed of a severe calamity ; that Claudius, 
^hom I so greatly loved, is removed by the plague ; 
that Lewis, the brother of Charles, died three days after- 
wards ; that my family was unhappily scattered ; that my 
brother had retired with Cardus to a neighbouring village ; 
that my wife had taken refuge at her brother's house ; and 
that the youngest of the students of Claudius was confined 
to his bed. The bitterness of my grief is augmented with 
anxiety and solicitude for those who survive. Night and 
day, I imagine my wife before me, deprived of her reason, 
and calling for her husband. The afflictions of the amiable 
and affectionate Charles sorely distress me. In four days he 
was deprived of an only brother, and of a Preceptor whom 
he treated as a father. When I think of Malherbe, my mind 
calls to view the excellent young men who attended him. 
Under the weight of all these sorrows, it is incredible how 
much I mourn the death of my dear Claudius. Nor will 


you be surprised at my depression, as you know how much, 
for these two years, I have needed a sure and faithful friend, 
to support me under a multitude of weighty troubles. He 
conducted himself in so faithful and so obliging a manner, 
that I treated him with all the familiarity sf a brother. 
When, in suspense of mind, I lately deputed him, he solemn- 
ly pledged himself, that he ^'.ould go wherever I should di- 
rect, and that he would never forsake me. Mlien I consi- 
der how much occasion I have for a good counsel lour, al- 
ways at hand, and how rarely, in this age, we meet with an 
example of so mucli benevolence and fidelity, I cannot but 
eonsidcr his removal as a chastisement of the Lord, to call 
my sins to remembrance. 

The Emperour has been expecting the arrival of the 
Princes. The two Electors of Bavaria, and the Duke of 
Brunswick, the robber, the disgrace and the destroyer of his 
country, were present at the first moment. The Ambassa- 
dours arrived successively, and the following Princes : Fred- 
erick the Palatine, the brother of the Elector, Otho his grand- 
son, the younger Count of A'\^irtemberg, the Landgrave, Al- 
bert of Baden, the Prince of Anhalt, and the Elector of 
Mentz. The Elector of Brandenburg is on his w ay. The 
Emperour will persist in his solicitations till they all attend. 
The Elector of Saxony oiiered a good reason for his absence 
by his Ambassadours. The two cities of Goslar and Bruns- 
wick, which Hen|;y vexed with depredations and rol^berics, 
under the pretext of tlie imperial ban,# the confederates 
lately decreed to defend by their united arms. 

The Emperour, fearing the issue, has suspended his de- 
crees, and annulled his sentences against us, until he can take 
cognizance of the whole business before the ]3iet. And to 

* Sometimes cities were put under the imperial ban, tluit is, stripped of 
their rights and privileges; a sentence of war or proscrij)tion beiiiq- prn- 
claimed against them till thov made satisfaction. 

276 ^ LIFE OF CALVIN. xetters. 

remote all obstructions, h^e published his edict, express- 
ly commanding him to restore all that he had seized, and to 
abstain from farther depredations. He promised obedience, 
but still proceeds as before, perhaps you will say, in collusion 
with the Emperour. However this may be, the Elector of 
Saxony cannot desert his allies in such a pressure of danger ; 
he therefore remains on the watch, promptly to oj^pose the 
attempts of Henry. As soon as the decrees were suspended, 
Henry was summoned to hear the imperial ban, by which 
he was stripped of his privileges, and exposed himself to 
depredation. In a few days after, we received the same 
summons. The Emperour, I know not with what sincerity, 
solemnly declared, that he was very highly displeased at 
these things, and would use his endeavours that it should 
all evaporate in smoke. But this decree exposes us to immi- 
nent danger. Should they proclaim it to-morrow, we cannot 
move a foot from this place but at the hazard of our heads. 
It escaped me to mention, that the Duke of Savoy has pre- 
sented himself here to bind the faith of the Empire to as- 
sist him in the recovery of his dominions, which, when he 
held, would not add to the Empire. He is too late, there- 
fore. But tlie King of France has sent the advocate Ray- 
mond, who asks to be received into the confidence and pro- 
tection of the Empire, for the Dutchy of Savoy. Many most 
splendid embassies have arrived from foreign nations. Car- 
dinal Contarinus, the Legate of the Pope, on his entering 
the town, scattered over us so many signs of the cross, that 
his arm, I apprehend, did not recover in two daj^s from the 
painful labour. The Bishop of Blodena was sent as a spe- 
cial Nuncio. Contarinus would have us submit without 
bloodshed, and labours by all means to complete the busi- 
ness without having recourse to arms. The Nuncio is for 
bloodshed, and has nothing but war in his mouth. BotJi 
agree in cutting oil all hopes of amicable discussion. The 


Venetian Ambassadour is a man of great pomp and parade. 
The English, besides the resident Minister, have sent the Bi- 
shop of Winchester with a splendid retinue, a man too ma- 
liciously cunning. The Ambassadours of Portugal, and se- 
veral others, I omit to name. The King of France has sent 
Velius, an importunate ])lockhead. In mentioning tlie Princ- 
es, I passed over all the dregs of the order of Pfaci, except- 
ing John Pfaf, Elector of Mentz. The Bishops assembled 
in great numbers, — the Bishops of Ratisbon, Augs})urg, 
Spires, Bremen, Saltzburg, Brescia, Worms, Bamberg, 

Hildeshcim, and some others. It would be in vain 

to conjecture Avhat will Ije the result of this Diet. The 
minds of the confederates ^\ ere enraged against Henry of 
Brunswick, who persecutes them with his infamous libels. 
They petitioned the Emperour to discard him as a calum- 
niator, if they should prove that he had attacked their re- 
putation by the most impudent lies. I see no method for 
the settlement of this matter, unless it is carried before the 
imperial Chamber y^ for the Landgrave has refused to sub- 
mit this controversy to the decision of the Emperour as 
Umpire. Although this is not the main busine?^s, it will 
disturb the commencement of the Diet, and may possi!)ly ex- 
tensively s-lTect us in the result. 

The Emperour, convinced of the present confusion of his 
affairs, ^\ill not willingly excite new troubles for hiii^Felf. 
An expected attack fron> the Turks awakens his fears. With 
the King of France, he has a doubtful peace, with the 
hazard of war in the issue. Various rumours are circulating 
about the Grand Turk. Tliat Hungarian IMonk, who, after 
the death of King John, had taken the guardianship of the 
Prince, jealous of FerdinancJ, sought assistance from the Turk ; 

* A tribunal composed of judges named p;a-tly by the Emperour, and 
partly by the States, and vested wiUi the power to decide finally all 
differences among- the irembcrs of the Gcrnianlc body. Htcs' Cy. 

2m LIFE OF CALVIN. letteks. 

he sent only a few troops to his aid, which however attacked 
Pest J a city in the possession of Ferdinand, on the Danube, 
opposite Buda. An army was levied to force thefii to raise 
the seige. And now some report, that the Turk, having 
made great preparations, is advancing with a large army ; 
others say that these preparations were made to quell domes- 
tick disturbances. We shall soon ascertain the object, for it 
must be something of weight to detain him from attacking 
the Walachians. These people revolted from those tyrants 
into whose power they had delivered themselves. The Pa- 
latine of their own, the pupil of the Turk, was placed over 
them. Wearied with his cruelties, they preferred the most 
hazardous attempts for deliverance, to the bondage of his do- 
minion. Having killed the Palatine last winter, they de* 
stroyed every thing which belonged to the Turk ; and hav- 
ing chosen a new leader, whom they obliged to swear eternal 
enmity to the Turk, they took the strongly fortified citadel, 
which had been built with wonderful expedition, near the 
frontiers of Poland. If he leaves this insult unrevenged, he 
must be occupied elsewhere. I hope this may be the case, 
that while he is healing his wounds we may have some leisure 
to collect our forces and arrange our affairs. The King of 
Poland may greatly assist his neighbours, unless his dominions 
are molested by the Tartars, who the last winter made an ir- 
ruption, and ravaging his territories, attempted to proceed 
farther. However this may be, the Emperour wishes to put 
the affairs of Germany into a more composed state, until he 
has extricated himself from these perplexities ; and will not 
excite any troubles at this tixue, unless driven to it by the 
pressing importunity of our enemies. The confederatee are 
desirous of having an audience ; and if they can hope for no 
confidence or lasting peace, until there is an agreement in re- 
ligious matters, and the Churches established in order, they 
will urge the Imperial Chamber to consider this subject 


with care and attention. They are anxious that all di^soti- 
sions should be ended without tumult, and detesting war as 
the certain ruin of this country, they shew themselves the 
decided enemies of all violent measures. 

Our opponents are divided into three parties. Tjie fifst 
are for proclaiming war, and openly raved because it was 
not commenced the first day. Of this class, the leaders are 
the Elector of Mentz, the Bavarian Dukes, Henry of Bruns- 
wick, and his brother the Bishop of Bremen. The second 
class wish to consult the good of their country, whose ruin or 
devastation they foresee will be tlie calamitous effect of waj*, 
and they of course exert all their powers to eifcct a peace of 
any kind without a settlement of religion. The third would 
willingly admit a tolerable correction of ecclesiastical doc- 
trine and discipline, but being either deficient in the know- 
ledge of the truth, or in fortitude to avow themselves abettors 
of these opinions, they go forward apparently seeking only the 
publick tranquillity. Among this class are the Bishop of Co- 
logne and the Bishop of Augsburg among the Ecclesiasticks ; 
both of the brothers of the Palatine, Otho, their grandson, and 
perhaps the Duke of Cleves, among the Princes. Those arc 
the small number who are endeavouring to excite tumults, 
and being opposed by all the good, they cannot eflfect their 
wishes. The mind of the Emperour is entirely inclined to 
peace, and to obtain it he will contend with all his strength, 
putting oJT his care for the cause of religion to some future 
time. The confederates Avill not easily yield to tjiis, but 
persist in demanding the reformation of the Church. A\'e 
hope to elTect something. 

The Pope's Legate, with his usual solemnity, entreats us 
cot to determine on violent measures ; but violent measures-, iu 
his view, are any discussions about religion, or any consulta- 
tion concerning the reformation of the Church, held witlmirt 
the authority of his master. They openly profess to cncour- 

mo LIFE OF CALVIN. i.e1teks. 

age the diet wltich we ask, and still secretly oppose its ap- 
pointment by great promises and high threats. Contarinus 
professes to \\'ish that we might be subdued without ]:)lood- 
shed ; but if this cannot be done, and the Emperour will have 
recourse to arms, they are prepared to furnish him with large 
sums of money. While at the same time, if he yields to any 
measure disagreeable to the Romish tyrant, they threaten 
him with those thunders with which they are accustom-ed to 
shake the whole earth. The state of things in Italy makes 
the Emperour anxious for his power. If he can, he will 
therefore take refuge there, in order, without meddling with 
religion, to place Germany in a more composed state, by a 
temporary peace, or a truce for a few years. In this he will 
be opposed. Thus you see that affairs are in such obscurity, 
that there is no place for probable conjecture. In these per^ 
plexities, let i+s invoke the name of the Lord, and beseech, 
him to govern, ])y his wisdom, this great and weighty cause^ 
£0 deeply interesting to his glory and the safety of hi^ 
Church ; and to manifest, in this crisis, that nothing is more 
precious in his sigiit, than that celestial wi'^dom which he 
has revealed to us in the Gospel, and those souis which he 
has redeemed by the sacred blood of his Son. In propor- 
tion as all things are uncertain, we must stir up our minds 
vv^ith the more assiduous zeal in our supplications. Casting 
our views over the whole progress of our affairs, we find that 
the Lord has governed events in a Avonderful manner, with- 
out the aid or the counsels of men ; and made them prosper- 
ous beyond all our most sanguine hopes. In these difficul- 
ties, let us rest entirely on that ^visdom and power which he 
has so often displayed in our protection. One circumstance 
terrifies me, that our friends are in so great security ; with 
this I am struck with consternation, to see that new offejices 
are daily committed as the syrtjhyttf^ix. or rather ^vcyu^ax, I 
am not however ewtirely d^iscouraged.- I have lately received' 


a letter from Viret, which I answered briefly, that it was not 
convenient to deliberate on that subject at present. I wish, 
my Farel, that I could depart from this place to-morrow, 
but what shall I do ? I am bound here, and fear I shall 
pine away with tediousness and disgust. Farewell, dear bro- 
ther. Salute, in my name, all the brethren, Thomas and 
Michael, who will be greatly afflicted at the contents of this 
letter, and Cordier, my old Preceptor, and the rest. 
Ratisbon, March 2S, 1541. 


Luther to Melancthon. 

My dear Philip, I have just received your last letter. — I 
am grieved that your influence, so favourable to the cause of 
truth, should be in any degree diminished ; but my confi- 
dence rests on the extent neither of your powers nor my own. 
Our affairs are managed, not by chance, but by the establish- 
ed counsel of the living God, who does not indeed always 
direct events in a manner the most agreeable to our wishes. 
The word is progressing, prayer is fervent, hope is animated, 
faith overcomes, and thus we are compelled to be submis- 
sive ; and were we not in the body, we might take our ease, 
and rejoice in festivity, remembering the command of I\Io- 
ses — Hold 7/c your peace, the Lord shall fight for you. For 
although we may be anxious to determine, to say and do ev- 
ery thing with the most vigilant circumspection in another 
manner, yet if the Lord docs not fight, we shall watch in vain ; 
if he lights, we shall not sleep in vain. It is certain that the 
Lord fights for Israel, and is descending slo^\ ly, and with 
measured step, from his throne, to accomplisli his long ex- 
pected counsel. There are very mnny >igns, which impress 
lue with this persuasion. Things are safe in your houses, 


282 LIFE OF CALVIN. x,eii£rs, 

thanks to be to God. Do not fear, be joyful and of good 
courage, anxious for nothing. The Lord is at hand. Let 
the Henries, the Bishops, the Turks, and Satan himself d o 
what they can. We are the sons of the kingdom, who wor- 
ship and wait on the Saviour, who is continually spit on and 
crucified by these Henries. 
April 22, 1541. 


Calvin to Farel. 

It is painful on many accounts to be here ; but in ex- 
tending my view over the whole business, I shall never re- 
pent of having come. You may think that I trifle, but I under- 
stand perfectly well what I say. And you will know, Avhen . 
we have the pleasure of an interview, that I have a good 
reason for my assertion. Now give attention, and collect as 
much as you can from my nai'ration.# 

Our advocates passed from the subject of original sin, 
without difficulty. The disputation on free will followed, 
and was amicably settled, according to the opinion of Au- 
gustine. This harmony was somewhat interrupted by the 
contention about the meritorious cause of justification. At 
length, a formula was presented ; and, after passing through 
various corrections on both sides, it was admitted. It 
will doubtless surprise you, tliat our adversaries made con- 
cessions so extensively favourable to our cause. I enclose a 
copy of the formula. The confederates have retained the 
principal doctrines of divine truth, and nothing was admit- 
ted into this formula contradictory to the scriptures. You 
will, without question, desire a more full explanation, and in 
this respect we shall be perfectly agreed. But a moment's 

* The first session of the Diet was held April 5th, 1541. 


reflection, upon the characters of the persons with wliom wo 
have to transact this business, will convince you, that ^^'e 
have effected much beyond oui' expectations. In the dcii- 
uition of the Church, the advocates were agreed ;# but an 
extensive and unyiehling controversy arose about tlie govern- 
ment ; and the article, by mutual consent, was omitted. On 
the sacraments, they had some warm contention ; ])ut ^^llen 
ours admitted, that tlie ceremonies were a medium, they 
proceeded to the Supper. This was an insurmountal)Ie rock. 
Changing the bread and wine into the real body and blood of 
Christ, replacing the host, carrying it about, and other super- 
stitious practices, were rejected. This was considered, by the 
Romish advocates, as an insufferable step. Bucer, my col- 
league, being wholly bent on unity, was incensed that these 
controverted questions were moved so prematurely. IMe- 
lancthon was inclined to the opinion, that all hope of pacifi- 
cation should be cut off, about things so entirely corrupt. 
Our advocates, having assembled us for consultation, demand- 
ed our individual opinions. We were unanimous, in our 
judgment, that transubstantiation was a mere fiction ; that 
laying up the host was superstitious ; and that the worship 
paid to it was idolatry, or at least very pernicious, as it was not 
warranted by the word of God. I was requested to give 
my opinion in Latin, and although I understood not the 
opinions of the others, I freely, and without fear of giving 
ofTence, condemned the doctrine of the heal presence, and 
declared that the worshipping of the host was intolerable. 
Believe me, in such cases, determined and resolute minds 
have a very great influence in establishing the opinions of oth- 
ers. Cease not to pray to God to support us ;vith the spirit 

* The advocates to manage tlie business in the Diet, appointed by the 
Emperour, were for the Catholicks, JuHus Ptlug-ius, John Eckius and John 
Gropher — for the confederates, Philip Melancibon, Martin U'lc^r ynd John 
Pistorius, Uupin, ICth cent, bock ?, p. IC?. 

284 LIFE OF CALVIN. i-etters. 

of fortitude, Melaticthon drew up a writing, which being 
presented to Granville, was rejected with abusive language, 
which our three advocates announced to us. If, at the very 
commencement of the discussion, we have to encounter such 
difficulties, what an accumulation of them still remains to in- 
terrupt our progress, through the examination of the private 
mass, the sacrifice and communication of the cup ? What 
obstacles will lie across our way when we come to the open 
profession of the real presence ? What tumults will then be 
i'aised ? Your letters were delivered to me by Plumarius, a 
month after they were written. I expect to receive others 
shortly. The safety of the brethren is in my view a matter 
of great anxiety, Jjut the obstacles I have mentioned still 
prevent our success. Maurus has been commissioned on 
that business, and is still labouring to unloose that knot. 
We have increased reason to animate our hopes. The Land- 
grave, being disappointed in his sanguine expectations of 
success, in obtaining assistance from others, will now turn his 
attention to us. If this takes plaqe, he will most resolutely es- 
pouse our cause ; and Maurus, being a pious and determin- 
ed man, will exert liis whole strength in our favour. He 
has hitherto behaved himself with fidelity. Nothing, how- 
ever, has yet been obtained, but that our brethren should, 
upon acquitting themselves by oath before the Bishop, be per- 
mitted to return home unmolested. N — — is very troublesome 
to us. IMay the Lord remove him, or amend him. Salute the 
brethren. Philip and Bucer salute you. On the day before 
yesterday, when we dined with the LandgravC; friendly men- 
tion was made of you. 
PvAXisBON, May 11, 1541 



Calvin to Farel. 

The messenger having delayed his departure a day Ion- 
ger than I expected, I ^\Tite again, to mention some 
things which have taken place, and A\luch may be interest- 
ing to you. Granville, although he had destroyed ])y his 
answer all hope of agreement, when he heard of tlie apo- 
plexy of Eckius, whose importunity he perhaps supposed 
had prevented the agreement, commanded that Pistorius 
should also be excluded, and that the other four should pro- 
ceed in their consultations without a\ itnesses. As fur as I 
could understand, our advocates might have easily accom- 
plished the business, if we would have been contented to be 
half Christians. Philip and Bucer framed an ambiguous and 
deceptive confession concerning transubstantiation, endea- 
vouring, as far cis possible, to satisfy their adversaries, without 
yielding any thing. I am not pleased with tliis method of 
proceeding. They however have a motive which guides 
them. They indulge the hope that the things aa ill manifest 
themselves, \vhenever there shall be an opening for the true 
doctrines. They prefer to pass over present diliiculties, re- 
gardless of the consequences of that Ik'xible mode of expres- 
sion. But in my opinion, this "v\ ill be very mjurious to the 
cause. I am persuaded, however, that they have the I) 
interests of religion at heart, and are extremely anxious to 
advance the kingdom of Christ. Our advocates are decided 
and prompt to every thing; but in their intercourse wit:i 
our opponents they are too temporizing. It grieves me, that 
Bucer is exciting against himself the displeasure of so many 
persons. Being conscious of his own integrity, he expects 
more security from it than circun]stanccs will a\ arrant. A\'e 

286 LIFE OF CALVIN. metiers. 

slioiild not be so satisfied with our purity of conscience as to 
throw off all regard to the opinions of our brethren. But 
ivhile I lament these things with you, my Fare!, suffer them, 
by no means, to escape from you. One thing, however, 
among all tliese evils, is very pleasant to me, tJiat Brentius 
surpasses others in his opposition to the impanated God,^ as 
he calls it. I wiil say no more, that you may be the more 
anxious at my return to see me. Farewell, my dear brother. 
Freithus, Musculus and Brentius, and all our friends, salute 
you. Eckius, it is said, is convalescing. The world does not 
yet merit deliverance from that ferocious man. 
PtATisBON, May 12, 1541. 


Calvin to Farel. 
^^ Since the time of our first difference on the subject 

of the Eucharist, we have never been able to agree upon any 
question. You know that our opinion was unanimous, that 
transubstantiation was a mere fiction, at war with the word of 
of God, and with the very nature of a sacrament ; that wor- 
shipping the host, as being the real body and blood of Jesus 
Christ, is idolatry, or something very dangerous •, and that 
preserving it is mere superstition. Our three advocates per- 
sisting in this opinion, Granville inveighed bitterly against 
Philip, supposing that if he could bring him to give up these 
points, he should have no dilBculty with the others. But as 
Melancthon remained inflexible, he directed them to proceed 
to other oucstions. The Marquis of Brandenburg, with the 

* Iwpaiiaivvi Dewn, an expression signifying the opinion of the Lu. 
thei'ans, concerning' the Eucharist, that the body and blood of Christ 
are really z??, yvill: or 7inder the dread a77dvjir],e 3.fter consG.CTa.{'ion. 



knowledge of the Emperour, had privately sent one of lliti 
Princes of Anhalt, Amhassadoiu* to Liilhcr, Iiopiiig to obtain, 
on account of former dispute?, soniethiiii; more favoura])Ie to 
the Papist?, than what we ^\ ere ail determined to i^a'ant. TJie 
Yesult of this embassy I have not learned ; I presume however 
that Lather's answer is not unfavouraljlc to us. There re- 
main yet three questions concerning the Euchari?t to pass im- 
der discussion, the sacrifice of tlic mass, private masses, and 
the distribution of both elements. The adversaries, having 
consented to a])olish the pu])Iick sale and multitude of masses, 
retained only one daily mass in eacli Church. By the same 
concession it mus agreed, that the mass should not be exposed 
except in a public meeting ; and that exhortation should be 
given at the conununion. They consented that the partici- 
pation of the cup should be free to every one that requested 
it. That the mass was a sacrifice they attempted to shoAv 
by sophistical expositions, and you may cojijecture very well 
from w hence they collected them. Those things were all re- 
jected by our advocates ; and Philip presented some articles 
on the other side of the question. They then proceeded to 
the confession of sins, on which point our adversaries disco- 
vered more moderation. They did not require a scrupulous 
enumeration of oAences, but insisted upon the necessity of con- 
fession and absolution. Our advocates presented a fornmhi 
in opposition to their opinions. The invocation of saints, 
tlie primacy of the Pope, and the authority of the Church, 
beuig brought up at once they could not agree, i'dl our ar- 
ticles were then added to the book of Concord.^;^- The Em- 
perour, in the most liberal and pleasant manner, returned his 
thanks to the collocutors, for liaving ftiithfuliy performed 
their allotted duty. Cha'rles then referred the result of the 

• The book oT Concoi\l \Tas, by tlie Ilinpcrovir'-s ouU-r, presented to 
the advocates by (.Jranvillc, as tlie ground uf union: the lUiWlcstunl ar- 
ticles and cxcc]nions were addtd to it. 

--'88 LIFE OF CALVIN. ^j,„„3. 

deliberations to the Imperial Chamber of the German States 
But as nothing could be settled without the book of Concord* 
It was brought before that Court with all the articles which 
had been added. The Emperour soon repented of this sub- 
mission of the business to the heads of the Empire. The 
Imperial Chamber however msisted, that what had been once 
decreed should not be revoked. ^Vhile this business was 
proceeding, the Senate were ordered to give audience to the 
Ambassadours of Hungary and Austria, who humbly suppli- 
cated that assistance should be aiforded them. The Empe 
rour insisted also, that the Imperial Chamber should lay aside 
the consultation about religion, and turn their attention to 
the objects of this petition. As soon as I saw this truce was 
agreed to by the Ordincs, I seized the opportunity and made 
my escape.-I have given you an abridgment of the history of 
the transactions of the Diet ; the details and more secret circum- 
stances I will relate to you at some future interview. I wi«h 
you had succeeded in obtaining Bucer's return. As to what an- 
pertains to the brethren who are suffering for the Gospel, I 
have not effected what I wished. The cause demanded an 
embassy of some weight which the times, that is, the vicious 
mcmations of men, will not gi-ant. Farewell, my dearest 
brother— The Lord preserve you all. 
Stkaseueo, July 154,1, 


Calvin- to Farei. 

I am retained here as you wished ; which may God grant 
to be for his glory. Viret still continues with me, nor will I 
suffer him by any means to be torn from me. It is your 
duty, and that of all the brethren, to afford me assistance, 
i.nless you wish mc t. be tormented and miserable, without. 


doing any good to the cause. I reported the labours of my 
office to the Senate, and assured them of the impossibility 
of settling the Church on any permanent foundation, unless 
a system of discipline was adopted, such as is prcscriljed by 
the word of God, and was observed by the ancient Cliurch'. 
I treatbd upon certain points, which might sufliciently ex- 
plain my wishes. And without entering upon the whole 
ground, I requested them to appoint some members 'vvho 
might confer with us on the subject. They chose a conr- 
mittee of six. Articles concerning the whole polity of tho 
Church will be drawn up, which Ave shall lay before the Senate. 
Our three colleagues pretend that they will consent to wliat- 
ever Viret and myself shall judge expedient. Something 
will be eifected. We are anxious to hear ho\v^ luattcrs pro- 
gress in your Church. We hope, through the authoi-ity of 
the Bernese and the Biellese, that the commotions are at 
least allayed, if not terminated. When fighting against the 
Devil, under the banner of Christ, he who armed and di- 
rected you to the battle, will give you the victory. But a 
good cause requires a good defender ; take heed, therefore, 
and give diligence, that those qualifications may be found in 
you which command the approbation of good men. We do 
not exhort j^ou to preserve a pure and undefiled conscience ; 
of this we do not doubt. But this we desire, that you would 
be as accommodating to the people, as your duly will allow. 
There are, you know, two kinds of popularity. The one is, 
when we obtain approbation, by our ambition and desire of 
pleasing ; the other, when by moderation and equity, we ei; 
tice the minds of others to yield themselves to us with a plea- 
sant docility. Pardon us, if we use too much freedom with 
you, for on this point, we perceive that you do not fully 
satisfy the virtuous. If in nothing else, you transgress in 
this, that you do not satisfy those to \vhom the Lord has 
mjKle you a debtor. You know how much we respect, how 

290 LIFE OF CALVIN. letters, 

raucli we love you. This love and tliis respect impel us to 
censure you with this exaet and rigid severity. We ardent- 
ly desire, that those excellent gifts, which the Lord has be* 
stowed upon you, may not be sullied by a single blemish, 
which may afford a handle to the carpings of malevolence, 
to injure your influence^ I have written these things by the 
advice of Viret, and for this reason have used the plura! 
number. Farewell, dearest and excellent brother. 
Geneva, 16th Sept. 1541. 


Calvin to Farel, 

You have no reason to feel very solicitous about my expos- 
tulation, for I had more of a disposition to rally you than to 
complain. I know very well, that you will not have forgot- 
ten me, although you should omit, a thousand times, to men- 
tion me in your letters. On this subject make yourself easy, 
— I should be pleased if a reconciliation with those who vex 
and weary you and your Church was as easy. 

Although, as you say, we must not dread a war with the 
world and the flesh, but rather seek it, if we would 
serve Christ; yet it is desirable, that all those who carry 
on the war with him, should surrender themselves in wil- 
ling obedience, lest being left to themselves they should be 
destroyed by the strength and vengeance of his arm. Since 
then the Lord will employ us in his warfare, and not permit 
us to remain idle, let us fight with fortitude and persevering 
courage, but with those arms alone, which he has provided 
for our defence. Under his benign protection, victory will 
always be in our power. That the Lord's Supper has been 
celebrated with those special admonitions, which you men- 
tion, will, I trust, present a favourable ground, for renova- 



ting the Church. I understand that your present modera- 
tion has assuaged the minds of some, and subdued others. 
Under this favourable influence, omit nothing which may, iu 
any degree, have a tendency to heal the wound. It will be 
a glorious triumph, if Satan and his principal oJlicers, march- 
ing in front of his standard, should be deserted by his whole 

As to our own affairs, I find abundantly true, what you 
write concerning the inequality of our yoke ; but I bear 
what I cannot remove. If Viret should be taken from me, I 
must wholly despair. Alone, I cannot preserve the safety of 
this Church. It is therefore just, that you and others should 
pardon me, if I remove those causes which threaten with im- 
pending danger my ov/n security and success, by depriving 
me of Viret. ^ His continuance is of more consequence to us 
than you apprehend. The common people, however, treat 
us very obsequiously, iij their steady attendance on divine 
service. Their external deportment is regular, but many 
yices still infest the heart and affect the head, which, if not 
gradually rooted out, I fear will break forth in dangerous 
sores, upon the body. You must be perfectly a^^are, that 
we cannot apply a remedy to these intestine and hidden evils 
without the greatest difficulty. You well know too the cha- 
racter of my fellow soldiers in this warfare, if Viret is remov- 
ed. If you disagree with me I will follow your advice, 

nor will I shrink from any of those duties which you impose 
upon me. While we can avail any thing, it is not for you to 
complain that you Can do nothing, for you know that we are 
wholly yours. Farewell, best and beloved brother. Affec- 

* Viret, on the application of the Genevese Church, went, by the 
consent of the Church at Lausanne, to supply the:n for six months, 
while Calvin was at the Diet of Ratisbon. He tarried some time af- 
ter Calvin returned to Geneva, but his own Church were now anxious 
fop his return to them. 

293 LIFE OF CALVIN. jlett£ks. 

tionately salute all, especially Cordier, whose letter I will soon 
answer. May the whole Church prosper. 
Geneva, Nov. Xlth, 1541. 


Calvin to Farel. 

I w^as prepared to detail to you at large the state of our 
affairs ; but when I was informed that our good father Capi- 
to, of sacred memory, was taken from us, and that Bucer was 
sick with the plague, my mind was so shocked that I can now 
only weep. You know it was always reeolved, that if I re- 
turned to Geneva, you should return with me ; that our 
united ministry might be restored. Your troubles, at that 
time, prevented you from leaving Neufchatel. It is now, 
however, the interest of our common ministry, and of the 
w hole Church, that you should come to this city. You must 
do it, if for no other reason but to fulfil your promise to me* 
Your .pretext for declining, that you was banished by the 
people and could not be recalled by the Senate, displeases 
me. You call that seditious faction of abandoned men the 
people ; and is it not enough that the people themselves, by 
their decree, pronounced your banishment unjust ? It is 
certain, that most of those w^ho banished you have either suf- 
fered an ignominious death, or have fled from the city ; and 
the rest are either ashamed to say any thing, or openly con- 
fess their fault. Was not that a decree of the people, by 
which they unanimously confessed our innocence ? — It was 
my intention on entering the city, to have asserted that we 
were innocent ; and although I do not excel in oratory, to 
have defended our cause. But when the people came to 
meet me, condemqing themselves, and confessing their fault, 
I perceived that it would be useless, ungenerous an(i inhu- 


man, as I should only be insulting our prostrate enemies, con- 
demned of God, of men, and of their own conscience. Will 
you continue to urge your scruples about the people's recall, 
when you are told, that when they decreed, that those who 
were banished should be recalled, the question was put in 
this form. Do you not confess that injustice was done to Furcl 
and his associates? Will you require more than this, that 
the people condemn themselves and acquit you ? It w as ad- 
ded. Will ye, that Farel and his associates, &c. ? Shall I not 
ascribe (forgive me my brother if I err) your scrupulous dif- 
ficulties to morosenesE, rather than sound judgment ? I know 
your sincerity— how little you regard yourself; but others, 
less acquainted with you, may suspect your motives, and 
make a handle of it for detraction. I do not pretend, that 
the Church has made satisfaction, proportioned to its offence. 
But if you saw how tender every thing is here, you would 
yourself agree to press this matter no farther at present. I 
entreat you, my Farel, to yield to the counsel of those who 
are prudently solicitous for the honour of your ministry. 
Give up, if not to our judgment, at least to the entreaties of 
your friends. Farewell, best and beloved brotiicr. 
Geneva Nov. 29, 1541. 


The Epistle of the illustrious Protestant Feinc es and 
States of the Empire, to Francis I. King of France. 

We t^'ish you health and prosperity, most serene and mosl 
Christian King. Your Royal IMajesty has always presented us 
with those testimonies of good w ill, which forcibly convince 
us, that you indulge the best and most friendly disposition 
towards us. We have indeed experienced, that our petition? 
were sometimes of no small consideration ^vith your Royal 

294} LIFE OF CALVIN. letters, 

Hjgliiiess. Therefoj'e we are now induced to addi'ess and inter- 
cede with your Majesty for the safety of certain individuals, 
some of whom are held captives in different parts of your king- 
dom, particularly at Grenoble, and other cities of that pro^ 
vince ; others of them, with their little children, miserably 
abandoning their houses, have been compelled to escape into 
caverns, only because they believe the same things, concern- 
ing the Christian doctrines, which our Churches profess. We 
are afflicted with the severest grief, because it cannot be deni- 
ed, but that many old abuses still exist in the Ch^jrches ; and 
yet a bitterness of spirit so rages every where, that the most 
salutary opinions are crushed, and not only private persons 
but whole nations are exposed to danger. While these sup- 
plications are presented to your Royal Highness, will you 
please to consider, that not only we, but the Church of 
Christ herself lies bewailing at the feet of the most power- 
ful Kings, and entreats and implores assistance, that the 
light of the rising Gospel may not be extinguished, but that 
it may be spared to those humble persons who are the mem- 
bers of Christ. We know that those who are hated for their 
pious doctrines, are sometimes severely punished for other 
crimes, and accused of sedition. But we have seen the con- 
fession of faith, offered by these persecuted persons to the 
court of Grenoble, and their defence, purging themselves of 
those crinjes which have been laid to their charge. Where- 
fore we thought it our duty to be more earnest in their be- 
half, because their confession of doctrine is pious, and doubt- 
less the pure opinion of the Catholick Church of Christ, which 
we also profess. We pray, therefore, that your Royal High- 
ness would spare the lives of these, and of all others who 
may be imprisoned and endangered from the same cause, and 
would dismiss them unpunished and in safety. We hear, in- 
deed, that pardon has been offered to some, on condition 
that they will abjure the confegsion of that doctrine which 



tliey believe to be according to the word of God ; but since 
tliis would be to them more painful than death itself, we 
beseech your Royal Highness, for the honour of God, to mi- 
tigate that condition of their deliverance. Your iMajesty is 
by no means ignorant, that it is a heinous crime to approve 
of that in religion which is against one's own conscience. 
This clemency will be pleasing to God, and will have a di- 
vine reward ; as the Psalmint says. Blessed is he that consi- 
dereth the poor and needy ; the Lord nill deliver him in the 
time of trouble. Wherefore we beseech your Royal iMajesty, 
with renewed earnestness, to shew this clemency towards 
those unfortunate persons, wherever they may be. It will be 
to us, and to all who profess the same religion, a distinguished 
favour ; and especially when it is understood, that they were 
liberated through our intercession ; and your Royal Dignity 
will obtain, among all good men, the distinguished praise of 
clemency and moderation. If this our request should be 
granted, of which we have some good hope, we will in our 
turn endeavour to testify our remembrance and gratitude by 
all the kind offices in our power. We wish that God may 
long preserve your excellent Majesty in health and prospe- 

Given at Ratisbon, this 23d of May, in the year of the 

Christian Salvation 1541. 

The Princes, Ambassadours, Staixs and On- ^ 
DERs, who have agreed to the Augsburg Con- > 
ffssion, and now assembled at Ratisbon. ) 


Calvin to Farel. 

The numerous deaths, which have occurred this year 
among my pious friends, I hope will instruct me in the emp- 

296 LIFE OF CALVIN. xettees- 

tiness of this present life ; and impress me, in the midst of 
my sorrow, with holy meditations concerning my own mor- 
taFity. Poralis, the first S3mdick of this city, has departed 
to be with the Lord. His death, as was to be expected, is 
severely felt, and deeply lamented by us. His dying testi- 
mony w as a source of consolation, while the very circum- 
stance of his piety increased our grief ; as we felt his loss to 
be, on that account, a more extensive deprivation. The 
day after he fell sick, Viret and myself were with him, and 
he informed us that he was in danger of losing his life ; for 
the disease with which he was afilicted was fatal to his fa- 
mily. We conversed on a variety of subjects, in which he 
interested himself with as much familiarity as if in usual 
health. The two following days, his complaint increased, 
but in no period of his life, had he discovered more strength 
of mind, or greater poAvers of eloquence, than at this time^ 
while he addressed those who visited him with some excel- 
lent exhortations, adapted to the character and circumstances 
of each individual. He now appeared to be much better^ 
and we entertedned hopes of his recovery. But after three 
days, the disease renewed its severit}^, and he was evidently 
in great danger ; but as his body was oppressed, his mind 
grev/ more enlarged and animated. I pass the intermediate 
time, to the day on -svhich he died. Viret and myself visit- 
ed him about nine o'clock in the morning. I said a few 
things concerning the cross, the grac?e of Christ and the hope 
of eternal life, for we would not fatigue him with a long" 
discourse. He answered, that he knew how to accept the 
messenger of God in a proper manner, and of what impor- 
tance the ministry of Christ was in confirming the conscienc- 
es of believers. He then discoursed upon the ministry and 
its use so powerfully, that ^^e were both struck with asto- 
nishment, and as often as I reflect upon it, I am still con- 
founded ; for he appeared to be delivering some of our dls- 


courses improved by his own deep and long medi'tations. 
He concluded by saying, that he believed the remission of 
sins, of which we assured him, from the promise of Christ, 
with as much confidence as though an Angel should appear 
to him from Heaven. He then enlarged upon the harmony 
of the members of the Church, which he commended witli 
the highest eulogy ; testifying that his best consolations, in 
the warfare of death, were drawn from his being establish- 
ed so fully in that unity. He had, a little time before, call- 
ed for some of our coHeagues, with whom he became recon- 
ciled, lest by persisting in this disagreement, others might 
make a bad use of his example. He observed to us, " As 
the welfare of the Church obliges you to bear with them as 
brethren, why should I not, for the same reason, acknow- 
ledge them as Pastors ?" He admonished them with seri- 
riousness, and called up to their remembrance the sins of 
which they had been guilty. But I come to his last words. 
Turning to those who were present, he exhorted them, that 
they should hold in high estimation the communion of 
the Church, and advised those who were still addicted to 
superstitious ceremonies and festivals, to lay aside their ob- 
stinacy, and unite with us in the worship of God ; for we 
saw better, and judged more perfectly than they could in 
these matters. He confessed, that he himself had been obsti- 
nate in these things, but at last his eyes were opened to see 
the baneful effects of contention. After this, he summed up 
his faith in a short, solemn and clear confession. He then 
exhorted Viret and myself to constancy in all the parts of 
our - official duty, and, as in a prophetick vision, he spoke 
of our future difficulties. Concerning the interests of tlic Pte- 
publick, his counsel was judiciously directed to whatever re- 
lated to its prosperity. He urged the most dUigent atten- 
tion to be given, to effect a reconciliation with the allied ci- 
ties; and that the clamours of some turbulent people should 


298 ' LIFE OF CALVIN. i^etters, 

not discourage us in our eiTorts. After addressing a few 
words to liim, we prayed with liim and retired. About two 
in the afternoon, my wife visited him, when he exhorted her 
to be of good courage, whatever might happen, and to con- 
sider that she was led to this city not rashly, but by the 
wonderful wisdom of God, to assist in spreading the Gos- 
pel. He soon after said, that his voice began to fail him ; 
that however that might fail him, he should retain in his 
mind, and die in the confession of faith that he had made. 
He recited the song of Simeon, and applied it to himself, 
saying, " I have seen and embraced thy salvation" ; and 
then composed himself to rest. From this time he was de- 
prived of his voice, but continued to indicate by signs, that 
he had lost nothing of the vigour of his mind* About four 
in the afternoon, I went with the Syndicks to visit him. As 
he sometimes attempted to speak, and was unable, I request- 
ed him not to fatigue himself, adding that we were abun- 
dantly satisfied with his confession. I then began to speak 
as well as I could. He heard with a composed and tran- 
quil mind. We had scarcely left him, Avhen he rendered 
up his pious soul to the Lord Jesus Christ. This narration 
will be scarcely credible to you, when you consider the na- 
ture of th€ man ; but remember that lie was endowed en- 
tirely with a new spirit. 

We are now deeply occupied in choosing new colleagues, 
and our trouble is increased, as those whom we suppose fit 
for the place, upon trial, disappoint our expectations. We 
will inform you of our progress, as your advice may be use* 
ful to us. Farewell. 

June 16, 151^2. 




Calvin to the Members of thr Church of jMontbeillard. 

Your two brethren Iiaving- stated to me tlic points of 
doubt or controversy which exist among you, I will simply 
and briefly expose to you what I should do, were I in your 
situation. That those persons, who wish to partake of the 
Lord's Supper, sliould present themselves to the Minister for 
a previous examination, is a matter so clear to me, that I 
think every one should do it of choice, as a means of sup- 
porting the purity and discipline of the Church. But to 
avoid all difficulty, some limiis should be prescril^ed, and the 
method of proceeding defined. 1. Let it be in a degree a 
private examination, to teach the ignorant in a familiar way. 
2. Let it be an opportunity for advising and reproving those 
who are wanting in their duty. 3. Let the Minister en- 
deavour to strengthen the weak in faith, and encourage those 
who are of a tender conscience. Concerning the Supper, it 
is my opinion, that we should adopt the custom of admi- 
nistering it to the sick, when circumstances will admit it to 
be done with propriety ; and also to criminals imder sen- 
tence of death, when they request it, and are sufficiently 
qualified ; but ])y this rule, that it be a true communion, — 
that is, that the bread ])e broken in a meeting of believers. 
It would be improper to celebrate the Supper in an ordina- 
ry meeting, merely at the request of one person. Uo not in- 
dulge a too frequent use of it in this v/ay, lest those 
should pretend a necessity for it, wlio are abje to come into 
the publick assem])ly. To permit midlives to baptize is an 
impious and sacrilegious profanation of bajjtism. Therefore 
I think, that this practice ought not only to be resi-ted, but 

300 LIFE OF CALVIN. xexters. 

if the Prince should urge the point to extremes, you ought 
to resist even unto death, rather than consent to sanction 

this intolerable superstition. In burials of 

the dead, I would wish this to be observed, that the body, 
instead of being carried to the place of worship, be convey- 
ed du-ectly to the place of burial ; and that the exhortation 
ishould there be given to all the attendants of the funeral. 
As to the ringing of the bell,# I would not advise you to be 
very tenacious in your opposition, if the Prince cannot be 
persuaded to abolish it, as it is not worth contending about, 
i would not have you oppose every festival, but insist on the 
abolition of those which carry the most decided marks of su- 
perstition, without any tendency to edification. In this 
manner you will have a plausible reason for your objections. 
I wish you not to shew yourself obstinate and morose ; for 
when the Prince sees your moderation, he will be more in- 
clined to yield in some measure, if he finds that you do not 
oppoee them all nor without reason. I entirely agree with 
you, as to the danger of varying from those forms which are 
commonly used in our Churches ; but as we have not yet ar- 
rived to that perfection, which we anticipate, and towards 
which we hope we are advancing, you need not hesitate to 
admit some ef those rites, which you can neither wholly ap- 
probate, nor totally abolish. 


Geneva, October 7, 1543, 

* Mabillon says, it was an ancient custom to ring^ the bells for persons 
about to expire, to advertise the people to pray for them ; whence was deriv- 
ed the passing-bells, the use of which was connected with other supersti- 
tions ; as was the bell at the festivals, masses, &c. See Rees' Cyclopsdi?, 
Art. Bell and Funer?!. 



Extracts from Sultzer's letter to Calvin. 
-Adrian our pupil arrived here yesterday from 

Strasburg, ^vith the good news that Herinan, Bishop of Co- 
logne, has abjured the Popish impieties, and is about estab- 
lishing the Reformation of religion throughout his domin- 
ions, by the means of Bucer, whom he has sent for, to preach 

the true Gospel. At Wittemburg, Luther has abor 

lished the elevation of the host, which had hitherto been 
customary at the administration of the Lord's Supper, and 
also the ringing of the bells, because some Frenchmen, and 
some members of the Church in upper Germany, were dis- 
pleased with that ceremony. At Leipsick, by Lu- 
ther's consent, they lately destroyed all the altars and ima- 
ges, in order to prove to the reformed Churches, that he 
was not so passionate and headstrong as he was reported to 

be. 1 hope that this will have a strong tendency to 

produce union in the Churches; for the abundance or di- 
versity of rituals among the Saxons has hitherto offended 
many. And this has been taken advantage of, by those \\ho 
are wonderfully skilled in calumny, and who take pleasure in 
interpreting every thing according to their own malice, 

which may be injurious to the reformed Church. — 

Paul Fagius of Isny is appointed to succeed our late excellent 
and learned Capito, in the ministry and professorship of 
theology, and is expected here every hour. The Lord pre- 
serve you with your wife and fellow labourers. Farewell. 
Yours, SULTZER. 

Bern, October 21, 154?, 

302 LIFE OF CALVIN. letters. 



They allege the example of Moses and David, as if those 
Uvo men had no other office but that of governing the people, 
in their civil capacity. These outrageous objectors should 
then give us civil Magistrates similar to those, that is, excel- 
ling by the singular spirit of prophecy, and sustaining 
each character, not by their own counsel or disposition, but 
by the command and vocation of God. That which they 
demand we would freely grajit to such men. But then Mo- 
ses himself, before the consecration of Aaron, discharg- 
ed the office of the Priesthood. Afterwards by the com- 
mand of God he pi-escribed what should be done. David 
also did not entei^ upon regulating the Church without the 
permission of the Lord, Other pious Kings, as w-as beco- 
ming, guarded the established order of the Church by their 
authority ; yet they relinquished their jurisdiction of the 
Cliurch, and the duties assigned to the Priest by the Lord. 


Melancthox to Calvix. 

Your letter was transmitted to me from the Frankfort Fair ; 
but the copies of your late work were not brought, as they 
did not arrive seasonably in that city. Having afterwards 
obtained one at Bonn with Bucer, I saw your address ry,v tt^ot- 
ipavijTiv, to me, and directly turned over a good part of th# 
disputation. As you honour me with your generous com- 
mendations, and both piously and eloquently discuss the 
w^hole subject, I should wish, when wc have an interview, ac- 


cording to our castoni, to have a long conversation, both 
concerning ray gratitude and the subject of the dispute. I 
do not arrogate to myself so much as you attribute to me of 
talents or learning. It becomes us to acknowledge our no- 
thingness in the Church, yet I am highly delighted with your 
benevolence; and give you thanks, that in your excellent 
book you have been pleased to give so publick and illustrious 
a testimony of your love towards me. I candidly confess 
that 1 was much gratified with your declaration, that I loved 
and sought sincerity and plain dealing. I can say, with a safe 
conscience, that it was my concern, in the beginning of these 
disputes, when many things were discussed with too much 
bitterness and subtility, to cull out those things which were 
useful ; and as much as I could, extricate them from obscu- 
rity, and publish them in a plain and friendly manner. The 
gaying of Euripides has often come into my mind : e^a«v 
TO ir»<poi, Kcci ct(ro<pov to f^T, o-cc<p£g^Perspicuifij is good, and oh- 
scurity is foolish. I incurred some danger, by cutting oil' 
some tilings most difficult to be understood ; but I retained 
and illustrated those things which were useful. I did it 
however with moderation, lest by irritating those vehement 
mihds, I should increase the discard. This was my object, 
to preserve unanimity among us in the Church, on the essen- 
tial points. You see how many other most useful questions 
have been agitated ; but as it is the art of generals, some- 
times to leave lighter or more unimportant objects, that they 
may not be hindered in the pursuit of those which are more 
necessary, so we ought to consider what those points are for 
which we must most strenuously contend. The Papists fight 
for their tt^aMi^na, Idol madness, with greater hope than 
ever. They expect that our doctrhies will b€ ruined by the 
folly of our Prince?, whom they see involved in civil wai*, 
and irritating Charles, who has hitherto been quiet, as if he 
was desirous to avoid the German contest?. I am afflicted 

304 LIFE OF CAi.YlN. t-EixEKs, 

by this great evil, which I often jjmdicted ; not by the art 
of divination, but by tlie principles of common sense, when I 
saw-the great worldly anxiety and otlier diseases of our Prin- 
ces. I know, however, that God will wonderfully preserve 
his Church, notwithstanding the fatal tumults of Empires. 
Let us not be discouraged ; but while we are able, let us, 
like the converted thief on the cross, proclaim the doctrine con- 
cerning the Son of God, and the hidden wisdom, which is ap- 
propriate to the Church ; concerning the greatness of human 
depravity ; of repentance ; of the assurance of promised mercy 
through the Son ; of true supplication ; of the genuine powers 
of the Church ; of the mysteries not to be corrupted ; of the go- 
vernment of the Church, not such as the Papists fancy, but 
such as it is defined to be by the Prophets and Apostles ; and 
lastly, of eternal life. In beautifying these great and essential 
doctrines, I would have you exercise your eloquence, which 
is able, at the same time, to confirm our friends, to terrify 
our enemies, and afi'ord assistance to those who may be heal- 
ed. For whose eloquence in reasoning is more nervous and 
splendid ? Mine was never powerful, on accoimt of the 
weakness of my mind; and it is now enervated by those pain- 
ful cares, which have consumed the energy of life. I greatly 
rejoice, therefore, that God has raised you up for the defence 
of the gospel ; and I exhort you, in the words which the apos- 
tle addresses to Timothy, yy^ ci,ueXei rov ey c-ai ^cc^tc-j^etrcs, neglect 
not the gift that is in thee. 1 Tim. iv. 14. For although I 
may appear or^wm^ g-ttcv^ovtu, to exhort 07ie that is giving dili- 
gence, yet these mutual exhortations or consolations, especial- 
ly in the Church, conduce much to confirm the minds of one- 
another ; as Paul says, he would be comforted by the mutual 
faith and kind offices of believers. Rom. i. 12. The enemies, 
who wage war against the Lord, and endeavour to destroy us, 
are sufficiently numerous on every hand. On this account, 

our union should be more firm, <ry/^f^r;, yc^ ee^er,, y^stc-cruv^ for 

vmfed r.rrrfinn i.<: more porvcrful. 


Perhaps Germany in a little time may be be laid waste 
by the Turks. If this should come to pass, you will be un- 
der the stronger obligation to awaken the love of learning, in 
places more secure ; and to contend earnestly, to preserve the 
light of the gospel, which you have enkindled in other parts 
of Europe. 

As to the question of Predestination, I had, at Tubingevi, 
a friend, the learned Francis Stadian, w ho used to say, that 
he approved of these two points : That all things came to 
pass, as divine Providence had decreed ; and yet that all 
things were contingent. These cannot be reconciled with 
each other. I hold the hypothesis, that God is not the cause 
of sin, nor does he nill sin. I admit also contingency, in this 
our infirmity of understanding ; that the common people may 
Imow that David fell freely by his own will ; and I think 
that he, when he had the Holy Spirit, might have retained 
it, and that in the struggle, there was some action of the will. 
Although these things may be disputed with more subtlety, 
yet when proposed in this manner, they appear accommoda- 
ted to the government of our minds. Let us accuse our own 
will when we fall, and not seek, in the counsels of God, an ex- 
cuse for lifting up ourselves against him. Let us believe, that 
God will afford assistance and be present with those who 
strive. Mo^ov S-tAjjc-ov wt< ©«$ ^^exTrcwruy only will, and God will 
meet thee with help, says Basil. Attentidn therefore should be 
awakened in ourselves, and the immense goodness of God 
should be praised, since he has promised and administers as- 
sistance to those Avho seek, as says the Lord, that is, to those 
who take heed to the promise. For we must he governed by 
the word of God, not opposing the promise, but assenting to 
it, and that without any previous controversy. Then we 
shall willingly assent, when the secret decree of God shall 
have been shewn to us : but God, who is efficacious through 
Ihe word, helps the assenting. I do not write these things 



with the intention of delivering precepts to a man the most 
learned and experienced in the exercises of piety. For I 
know that these things agree with your opinions. But 
being -^ctxvre^u, concise, they are adapted to common use. I 
^vrote this letter at Bonn, at my friend Bucer's, who Avas call- 
ed thither to reform the Church in the diocese of Cologne. 
This purpose you will commend to God by your fervent 
prayers. Please to signify to me the reception of this letter ; 
for if I could be certain that my letters would reach you, I 
t\'Ould write oftener. I owe you «vr<^^^ov, a return for your 
present; for which cause I will shew you the testimony of a 
grateful mind. Farewell. 

May 11th, 1543. 


Calvin to the Ministeks or Neufchatel. 

The love of God, the peace of Christ and the fellowship 
of the Holy Spirit be multiplied unto you always, brethren 
beloved in X]\% Lord. 

When our brother Enard brought your Articles, concern- 
ing the admlnisiration of discipline among Ministers, and al- 
so the objections of 'a certain brother to those articles, there 
w as no one of us who did not judge, that an answer ought 
to be given to each with all readiness. But as we were not 
all present, we deferred it to this day's meeting. The busi- 
ness being proposed, we all agreed, with one consent, to the 
following ansAver: When lAIinisters have occasion for any spe- 
cial discipline among themselves, the enquiry is not to be, 
after what manner we may live, without established rules in 
the Church ; but that management and order are to be pur- 
sued, which are adapted to retain us in our office, and to 


serve for edification. The affairs of men are never so well 
established, as that any thing is found perfect. To this 
point, however, we ought ahvaj^s to aim, that with one con- 
sent, and by united exertions, we may promote, as much as 
possible, the design for which the Cliurch was instituted. 

In this state of infirmity, it cannot l)e but that some 
things will be wanting in us, concerning wliich it is useful 
and proper that we should be admonished. In some Mi- 
nisters, particular faults are to be corrected : others are to be 
warned before hand, when we see them in danger, lest they 
fall into imprudences : some are to he excited to greater 
zeal : others must be checked in their impetuosity : and con; 
cerning others, we must make enquiry, when any unfavoura- 
ble and yet doubtful report about them goes a])road. Again, 
it is asked, " Whether, in general, it is necessary, that the 
individual delinquent should be admonished privately by 
each of the other Ministers ? Or whether it may sometimes 
be expedient, that a deliberation be held among them, and 
the admonition be given by the whole meeting ?" It often 
happens, that we ought to be admonished by a number to- 
gether, about that concerning which no individual can witli 
propriety admonish us. Exempli gratia, as it was just stat- 
ed, a rumour is raised, or some complaints spread about some 
brother : the neighbours know it. It cannot be iuet willi 
a better remedy, than that the Ministers, having consulted 
among themselves, advise or admonish him concerning whom 
the reports or complaints are made. If he is unjustly cri- 
mmated, they will thus provide, that the reports spread no 
further ; but if true, he ought not to be admoirishcd by one on- 
ly, but to be corrected by the meeting of his brelhi'ni, Take 
another example : There shall be something in a brother, 
which shall displease some others, either of tiie connnon 
members, or of liis colleagues. Here the quebtion is chanj^- 
ed : whether that which is a defidcncij is to be treated as Ji 

308 LIFE OF CALVIN. iettbrs. 

fault, and corrected ? In this case, the principal points be> 
ing compared, a judgment must be formed. Cases of this 
land are daily occurring. To these the provincial Synods 
had some respect, which were formerly held twice a year. 
In those Synods, when they entered on the consideration of 
doctrine, then the complaints were heard concerning the 
faults of any one, and the order of discipline was exercised 
towards the individual. Your institution, therefore, such as 
you have described, we judge to be sacred and lawful. It 
is certainly with propriety, that we approve of that order 
and discipline in your Church, which we ourselves have used 
^ good and salutary. Only let us first use (in our Censura 
Morum) equity and candour ; and also prudence and mode- 
ration. When we require candour and equity, we under- 
stand this, that no one shall labour, with a malignant mind, 
to throw spots on the character of his brother. By pru- 
dence and moderation we understand, that no one shall 
make known a secret fault, by which any disgrace may 
be affixed upon his brother; neither shall things of small 
consequence, levicula, be exaggerated, with immoderate se- 
verity. If at any time it should happen, that those 
things are made publick, from the moroseness or of- 
ficiousness of brethren, which ought to be kept secret ; or if 
from a censorious disposition in any one, private faults are 
published ; those reporters or informers should by no means 
be heard ; but they should be severely repressed and dis- 
countenanced. That the procedure may be safe in those 
difficulties, which arise in the administration of discipline, it 
is useful that a previous discourse be faithfully delivered, 
concerning those things which are to be strictly observed, 
by all those 'vvho would not turn the salubrious medicine of 
discipline into poison. We should immediately and constant- 
ly from the beginning admonish them, that if there are any 
secret grudges, they should be openly acknowledged : that 


when one brother is oijfended with another, it is his duty to 
expostulate with him, before he proceeds to cliarge him t\ ith a 
crime, so that he may not confound those two distinct du- 
ties. These precautions in discipHne, as much as possible, 
are to be taken at the threshhold, so that the door of con- 
tention may be closed, lest any creep in craftily ; and if they 
should peradventure over-reach, in this way, tJieu* progress 
must be stopped. The discipline of the Church is not on- 
ly of divine authority, but we find, by exi>crience, that it is 
necessary, and by no means to be neglected or omitted. 

Moreover, we beseech that brother in the Lord, who has 
hitherto dissented from you, as to your order of discipline, 
that he contend no further in his pertinacious objections. 
He should remember, among other things, what Paul re- 
quires in a Pastor, and this is not to be accounted the last, 
that he be not «ve«^u$, that is, that he be not self-willed. This 
also is one of the special virtues of a good Pastor, that he so 
abhor, with his whole heart, contentions, as never to diifer 
from his brethren, unless in cases of the most imperious ne- 
cessity. Take care also, lest those who hear this observa- 
tion of ours should suspect him of being zealous of strife, or 
of opposing your articles from his hatred of discipline ; for 
we would by no means load him with this reproach, or at- 
tach to him at all the disposition of l^eing self-willed. We 
speak these things,therefore, with the utmost simplicity, because 
we desire to consult his honour and benefit. As much as 
appertains to his objections, by which he has endeavoured 
to overthrow your articles of discipline, we shall only say, 
with his permission, that when he calls the hrotherbj eorrcc- 
tion an act of charity, from the exercise of which no one is 
to be excluded ; he appears to us not to have noticed 
that which in the first place was necessary to be known. 
that there are many kinds of brotherly correction. We will 
omit others, and observe only this alioiit which is the con- 

310 LIFE OF CALVIN. xetteks. 

troversy, as this has its proper and distinct consideration. 
It is one article of ecclesiastical polity. It should not, there- 
fore, be confounded with that general correction of morals, 
which is indiiferently committed to all. We do not, there- 
fore, concede to him, that it is a simple and common act of 
charity or love ; forasmuch as there is a judicial board, in- 
stituted for the purpose of order and discipline, which, has 
the edification of the Church alone for its object. Neque 
etiam co?icedimus, neminem ab ejus obligatione eximi. Nor 
do we concede, that any one is deprived of his privilege, or 
exempted from Ms obligation. Although this manner of 
speaking is ambiguous, as it may be taken passively or ac- 
tively, yet in either way, we deny that all are bound by 
this article, which is specially designed for Mmisters. For 
as those laws, which respect the order of holding the Senate, 
do not bind the common people ; so it is agreed, that we ob- 
serve among ourselves the discipline to which Ministers 
alone are subject. 

What the objector has included in the same proposition, 
" That brotherly correction is supported by the precept of 
God" ; if he understands, that any correction of that kind is 
contained expressly in the word of God, this we by no means 
concede to him. Sabstanfiam ecclesiasticce disciplincB exprimit 
disertls verbis scriptiira : forma autem ejus exercendce quo- 
niam a Domino pra^scripta non est, a ministris constitui debet 
pro edijicatione. The scriptures express the substance of ec- 
clesiastical discipline in plain words; but the form of exer- 
cising it, since it is not prescribed by the Lord, ought to 
be determined by the Ministers for edification. For Avhich 
reason we also deny, that the emendation of delinquents is 
only to be regarded in disciplinary proceedings, for respect 
is, at the same time, to be had to publick order and com- 
mon edification. On this subject we may take an example from 
the scriptures : When Paul came to Jerusalem, he >vas ad' 



vised by James and tlie Elders, as he had Ijcen evilly report- 
ed among tlie Jews, that he should purify himself in like 
manner and together with them. Now it is not to be doubt- 
ed, but that a deliberation among the Elders preceded this 
advice ; and that this consultation Avas held, Paul not being 
present. But why was this ? Because, indeed, the question 
concerned not Paul merely, but the general interest and 
common edification of the Chiu-ch. In like manner, when 
the brethren reprehended Peter, because he had turned to 
the Gentiles, Ave do not read that any thing was said to him 
privately by any individual ; because the matter was pub- 
lickly known to many, it Avas proi)er, therefore, that the El- 
ders should admonish him among themselves. And although 
Peter was unjustly accused in tliis case, we do not, however, 
read, that the Elders erred in the manner of tlHir dealing 
Avith him; the errour was only in the cause itself; for they 
pursued the usual and ordinary mctliod of discipline. 

The precept of Christ, whicli we have in Mattliew xviii., 
we receive concerning secret faults, according to the express 
meaning of the Avords. Tlierefore, if a brother olTend in 
any thing, you knowing it, and there being no other wit- 
ness, Christ commands you to go to him in private ; al- 
though he docs not forbid but that you should do the same 
in a case where there are others wjio equally know the facts 
with yourself. This sliould be done, as thougli you were 
ignorant that others knew it ; and on the ground that you 
do not think it expedient to accuse him in the presence of 
other persons. Chri?t adds, If you eilect nothing in this 
way, take with you two or three witnessc--. Thi'-:, in our 
judgment, is not to be understood of the a\ itneshcs of the 
fault, but of the admonition ; that by this means it may have 
more weight. This, however, has nothing to do with the point 
of preventing tlie exercise of discipline. a])out wliicli the contro- 
versv now is. Besides it is not now debated, 'whether secret faults 

313 LIFE OF CALVIN. i.etters. 

are to be publickly exposed ; but our enquiry is, what those 
things are which only beget some small offence, or which are 
not nnich removed from occasioning offence. Of this kind 
we have an example in the reprehension of Peter. For nei- 
ther did Paul refuse witnesses, that he might admonish Pe- 
ter privately, but he did it before the Church. Nor yet 
was the matter known to all ; but because danger threaten- 
ed, he would be before hand and prevent it. 

The fifth proposition of the objector, we cannot receive 
without exception ; for it declares, " that we are proceeding 
correctly, even when we admonish a Presbyter privately who 
is labouring under a notorious sin." But Paul, in the text 
where he forbids an accusation to be received against Elders, 
unless before proper witnesses, would on the other hand have 
peccantcs Prcshyterios^ offending Presbyters admonished before 
all, that others also might fear. If it is sometimes a duty to 
admonish offenders publickly, even Presbyters, for whom a 
greater respect is to be had, and it obtains for an example, it 
certainly cannot be correctly and prudently done, that any 
one should abstain from such reprehension. What shall we 
say more ? We judge that we have given all the counsel, 
which the time allows, or the case requires. But these two 
things are to be always regarded, the first, that offenders be 
not discouraged, through too much severity : and the other, 
that offences be not connived at by us. We wonder why 
that Brother added the sixth proposition, for it is sufficiently 
evident from the term Church, in the words of Christ, that 
he properly designated that Church of which he himself was 
a member, and whose obstinacy he had denounced. But 
here two things are to be observed ; First, that when the ob- 
stinacy of a stubborn offender is published before one Church, 
and he contemptuously leaves that Church and migrates to 
another, he shall be denounced in this also. The ancient 
Canons determine this, when they prohibit a stranger to be 


received to communion, unless he shall produce a testimony. 
For where is the communion of the Church, if when condemn- 
ed by one he is received by another ? Where is the disci- 
pline, if he who despises one Church may migrate to another, 
and carry such pride with him with impunity ? The other 
point to be observed is, that those whom we esteem to be I\Ii- 
nisters of one Church qui in unum collegium adunati, who 
are united in one association, should constitute one bo<ly. 
^uorsum enim Decanus, quorsum alia oniTiia, nisi tanquam uni- 
us corporis membra inter nos coalescamus ? For what pur- 
pose is a Leader, or Moderator, for what purpose all other 
things, unless, as members of one body, we are united among 
ourselves ? 

We trust that the author of the propositions will receive 
in good part what we have written in sincerity. It is the 
duty of us aW, not only to yield to the truth, but to receive it 
willingly, with extended hands when it comes in our way. 
Farewell, dear brethren in the Lord. May the Lord multi- 
ply unto you daily the spirit of wisdom and prudence, for 
the edification of his Church, and may he render your minis- 
try extensively fruitful, 

in the name of all the brethren. 

Geneva, from our meeting, Nov. 7, 1>544> 


Calvin to the Queen of Navarre, 

I have received a letter from a certain i)erson, which he 
says was written by him at your request. By this letter I 
perceive, that you do not approve of the book which I pub- 
lished against the Libertines. It would grieve me extremely 
fo oocasion you sorrow, unless it might tend to your salvation. 




That sorrow is not to be repented of, as says the apostle, the 
cause of which ought to lead any one to repentance. However, I 
can hardly conceive, why this book has excited so much dissa- 
tisfaction. He who wrote to nie says the cause of the of- 
fence was, that the book was written against you and your 
household. As it respects you, I never even thought of at- 
tacking your name, or of diminishing that respect which all 
pious persons owe you ; not to mention the royal dignity to 
which the Lord has raised you, the illustrious family from 
which you descended, and finally the summit of supreme no- 
bility, which renders you conspicuous in the world. All 
who know me are witnesses, how much I am a stranger to 
that incivility, that would despise earthly powers and prin- 
cipalities, and whatever else appertains to civil government. 
I am by no means ignorant of those qualifications with which 
God has endowed you ; and how extensively he has used 
your labours in the defence of his kingdom. These things 
afford me a substantial reason for respecting you and defend- 
ing your name. I wish you to persuade yourself, tliat those 
persons, who are endeavouring to excite your resentment 
against me, are neither influenced by a regard for you, nor 
any personal hatred to me ; but are in this way taking 
the opportunity to withdraw you from the sincere love, 
which you have manifested towards the Church of God ; and 
thus to alienate your afl'ections by degrees from the solici- 
tude with which you have hitherto worshipped Christ our 
Lord, and protected his members. As to your house- 
hold, I do not suppose you can imagine your house to be 
more dignified than that of the Lord Jesus Christ, in whose 
family there was one who deserved the name of a Devil ; a 
servant who sat at his own table, and was raised to the 
honour of being appointed one of the Ambassadours of the 
Son of God. I was not, however, so inconsiderate as to de- 
signate your house, at the time when I expressed the truth 


on that subject, as in the presence of God, nor did I even 
hint Uiat those whom I mentioned pertained, in any respect, 
to your family. It may now be enquired, whether from mo- 
tives of mere self- gratification, I treated of those persons in my 
discourse ; or whether I was inHuenced l)y weighty and just 
reasons, and as from mere necessity, to notice them as I did? 
Wiien you possess the whole truth of this matter, I am per- 
suaded, that you will judge me not only excusable, but that 
my caBdour deserves your commendation. Concerning this 
sect, I am decidedly of the opinion, that there is nothing 
among men more pernicious and abominable. It is a burn- 
ing torch, by which all things will be immediately enkin- 
dled and consumed. It is a most powerful contagion, by 
which every thing will be infected, unless some remedy is 
at once applied to arrest its progrese. Now as I am called 
of God to this oifice, my conscience impels me to resist this 
pressing evil with all my strength. Besides, I am called up- 
on daily, by many pious persons, who have not ceased to im- 
plore my assistance, complaining that almost all the Nether- 
lands were beset with that evil ; and saying that I should at. 
least exert myself to apply a remedy. Notwithstanding 
these excitements, I restrained myself a whole year, hopmg 
that the evil would sicken and silently die away of itself. 
If any one objects, that it would have ])een sufficient for me 
to write against their opinions, and spare their persons, I 
have a reasonable excuse. When I understood how much 
hurt Anthony Poquet was doing in Artois, Hainault and the 
neighbourhood, and from persons worthy of full credit ; and 
when I was personally knowing that ^uintin was wholly en- 
gaged m winning over the simple and the credulous to that 
irrational sect, and that these men were incessantly labour- 
ing to destroy the true doctrine, to plunge wretched souls 
into perdition, aaid to carry a contempt of God through the 
whole eailh ; I put the question to you for decision, whe- 

316 LIFE OF CALVIN. xexters. 

ther I could honestly have concealed these men ? A do^, 
if any one attacks his master, will at least attempt to frighten 
him by barking. Who would excuse me, if, when I hear 
the truth of God assailed, I should suffer my mouth to re- 
main closed ? I do not believe that you expect me, in or- 
der to please you, to prevaricate in the defence of the Gos- 
pel, which is committed to me. Do not then, I beseech 
you, take it amiss, if in the discharge of my duty, being 
compelled by the fear of God, I have not spared one of 
your household, since I have offered nothing which might 
in the least affect your reputation. What the author of the 
letter says in your name, that such servants as I am will not 
be very acceptable to you, I judge the same of myself, and 
acknowledge that I cannot be of any great service to you ; 
for neither have I the ability, nor you the occasion of my 
personal assistance. But yet a partiality of mind towards 
you is not wanting, nor will I, while I live, by the grace of 
God, be otherwise affected towards you. Should you even 
be averse to my respect, that will not change my disposition 
or affection towards you. As to other things, every one 
who knows me can testify how far my disposition is from 
seeking access to Princes, and from being excited by a love 
of such honours. Perhaps if I had sought them, I should 
not have succeeded in obtaining theni. I have reason to 
tltank God, that my mind is wholly free from that desire. 
I am abundantly satisfied, that I am in the service of that 
Divine Master, who has admitted and retained me in his fa- 
mily, and entrusted me with that office, which with him is 
of so much w eight, however it may be accounted vile and 
despicable in the eyes of men. I should be the most un- 
grateful of all mortals, if I did not prefer this my condition 
to all the honours and riches of the world. As to the incon- 
stancy of which you accuse me, I assure you, confidently, 
that you have been imposed upon. I have, indeed, never 


been brought to this trial, tliat any one should demand of nie 
n confession of my faith. iShould it be demanded of me, I 
have no such conhdence in myself that I dare boast ; but I 
am confident, that as God formerly supported me, so that I 
did not fear to defend his word, in the name of another,-.-: even 
at the hazard of my life, so in like manner he m ill reach out 
the hand of protection to me, whenever his name may be 
glorified by my confession. By divine favour, I have been 
so consistent with myself, that no one can accuse me of a di- 
rect or indirect denial or recantation of the truth, which I 
have supported. And Avhat is still more than that, it w as 
always in my view an awful madness, which could induce 
any one to deny Christ, to preserve his life or estate ; and 
such were my feelings on that occasion, w hen I was in France, 
as I am able to prove by appropriate a\ itnesses. That it 
may appear more evident, that those, w ho have endeavoured 
to injure me in your estimation, have basely abused your 
generous disposition, I will name to you, as a witness, Clera- 
cus, from whom you may most certainly ascertain the ex- 
treme falsehood of the calumny, which has been invented 
against me, and which is insufferable, as by it tlic name of 
God may be blasphemed. In myself, I am indeed nothing ; 
but since God has been pleased to use me as an instrument 
in building up his Church, I see, as well as others, how in- 
jurious would be the consequences of that reproach, if cre- 
dited against me, and how it would prevail to the di'^gracc 
of the Gospel. Blessed be the Lord, who has not permitted 
Satan to contend against me to that degree, but that he has 
supported me in my infinnity ; and never suffered me to be 
arraigned for the utmost trial of my faith, nor proved my 

• This undoubicvlly refers to the sermon wliich Cop, tlic Rector of the 
University of 1'ari.s, prcaclicd on All Saints du\ , which it is said Calvin com- 
posed in part at least. It was the tlajij^er to which Calvin \sas then cxpoB- 
fid, Uiat brought liim, first ac(j[uaintcd with the Queen. 

318 LIFE OF CALVIN. jletters. 

integiily by chains. I would wish your pardon for the 
shortness of my letter, and a certain perturbation which af- 
fects me ; for as soon as I received your letter I immediate- 
ly began this answer, that I might, to your satisfaction, re- 
move the offence ; and induce you to continue your protec- 
tion and benevolence towards the pious, according to your 
former munificence. May the Lord Jesus Christ protect you 
by his sliield, and direct you by his Spirit, to pursue his vo- 
cation, even unto death, with a sincere zeal and prudence. 
Your most humble and devoted servant, 

April 20, 1545. 


Calvin to Melancthon, wishes health. 

I will briefly mention for what reason this noble and pious 
youth has undertaken, at my request, this visit to you. I 
published a small book in the vulgar tongue, in which I 
reproved the hypocrisy of those who, although enlightened 
by the true G£)spel, still continued to attend the service of 
the Papists, which they know to be full of sacrilege and 
anathema. You would wish me, perhaps, to moderate 
sometliing of this precise severity. But what just occasion 
I had for this you will be able to judge, when you have 
iveighed and well considered the subject. Perceiving that 
many complained of my severity, especially those who ap- 
peared to grow wise in their own opinion, in proportion as 
they took more diligent care to preserve their lives ; I com- 
posed an Apology, which wounded their sensibility more 
painfully than the former treatise. Many, who esteem re- 
ligion only as they do philosophy, affect severely to despise 
my reproof. All those, however, who seriously fear God, 


have at least advanced so far in knowledge, as to begin to 
be dissatisfied with themselves. But as the question ap- 
pears to them perplexed, they still hang in doubt until they 
shall be confirmed by your authority, and that of Luther. 
I apprehend that they consult you, because they hope that 
your opinion will be more agreeable to their wishes. But 
•whatever may be their intentions, as I am persuaded, tJiat 
from your singular prudence and sincerity, you will faithful- 
ly give them salutary counsel, I readily, according to their 
request, engaged to send a man to you on this business. But 
as I considered it to be a matter of consequence, that you 
should know my opinion, and the reasons which induced me 
to embrace it, I immediately translated the two hooks into 
the Latin tongue. And although I may appear to have 
done this improperly, yet I ask you, by our mutual friend- 
ship, not to refuse the trouble of reading them. Your judg- 
ment, as it ought to be, is of such weight with me, that it 
would give me great unhappiness to undertake to defend 
that on this subject which you could by no means approve. 
I know, indeed, that from your great moderation, you allow 
many things to others, which you would not permit to your- 
self. We must, however, enquire, what is lawful for us ? 
lest we loosen where the Lord binds. I do not ask you to 
agree with me ; that would be too great effrontery ; or to 
depart, on my account, from the free and plain exposition of 
your opinion. All I ask is, that you would not neglect the 
perusal of the books. Indeed, I wish that we so entirely 
agreed^ that there should not be even the appearance of a 
disagreement in a single word. It is your duty to precede 
me, rather than have any regard to what might meet my ap- 
-probation. You see how familiarly I address you, nor am I 
at all anxious lest it should exceed the limits of iriondship ; 
for I well understand how much freedom is perm it led me, 
from your sing^ilar good will towards nic, I apprehend there 

LIFE OF CALVIN. metiers, 

will be somewhat more difficulty in treating with Luther. As 
far as I learn from reports, and the letters of some of my 
friends, the mind of that man, being as yet scarcely pacified, 
will be frette<l by the most trifling cause. On this account, 
the letter v, hich I have written to him the messenger will 
show to you ; so that, after perusing it, you can regulate the 
whole business according to your own prudence. You will 
provide, therefore, that nothing is attempted rashly, and with- 
out due consideration, that may have an unfavourable ter- 
mination ; which I am confident you will faithfully accom- 
plish, by your uncommon address, 

I have not been able as yet fully to ascertain what con- 
troversies are agitated among you in Germany, nor Avhat 
has been their issue ; excepting that an atrocious libel has 
been published, which, like a fire-brand, will enkindle fresh 
flames, unless the Lord, on the other hand, restrain their 
minds, already, as you know, beyond measure heated. But 
for what, and why are these controversies excited ? When 
I consider how ill-timed these intestine controversies are, I 
am almost lifeless with grief. A merchant of Nuremberg, 
passing through this city, lately showed me an apology of 
Osiandevy which greatly mortified me for his sake. For 
what purpose could it answer, to abuse the ZuinglianSy with 
foul language, at every third line ; to treat with so much in- 
humanity Zuinglius himself ; and not, indeed, even to spare 
that holy servant of God, (Ecolampadius, whose meekness I 
wish he would half imitate ? Osiander wouldj in that case, 
be far higher in my estimation. I do not, by any means, 
ask him to suffer in silence his reputation to be traduced 
with impunity. I only wish he would abstain from re- 
proaching those men, whose memory ought to be honoured 
by every pious person. While I am displeased with the 
petulance of the writer, by whose mournful ditties he com- 
plains that he has been defamed ; I lament his want of mo- 


deration, discernment and discretion. How great is the plea* 
sure which we are affording the Papists, as if we were devot. 
ing our labours to their cause ! But I shall unreasonably in- 
crease your sorrow, by the recital of evils which you cannot 
remedy. Let us mourn thciiy since it becomes us to be afflict- 
ed with the troubles of the Church ; but let us still sustain our'- 
selves with this hope, that although we are oppressed and toss- 
ed by these mighty waters, we shall not be overwhelmed. 

All the brethren in France have their minds much elevat- 
ed in the strong expectation of a Council. There is no douljt 
but that the King himself, at least in the beginning, had a 
desire and determination to convoke one. For Cardinal 
Tournon, on his return from the Emperour, persuaded Fran- 
cis, that Charles had the same intention. At the same time, 
he advised the King, in tlie name of the Emperour, to send 
for two or three of you to meet him ; hoping that by flat- 
tery, or by some other means, he might extort from you se- 
parately, what he could not obtain from you in a Council. 
The Emperour promised that he would pursue the same 
course. This was their object, that you being bound by 
previous declarations to them, would be less able to vindi- 
cate the cause, when you should come to serious disputa- 
tion in the Assembly. Having despaired of conquering \is, 
by an open and correct management of the cause, they sec 
BO shorter and surer method of succeeding, than by keeping 
the Princes in fear of punishment ; that they may hold 
their liberty, as if conquered and bound, in subserviency to 
their purposes. As this advice pleased the King, Castella^ 
nus refused to allow the French Divines to dispute with 
you, unless tliey should be first well instructed and prepar- 
ed. You were men accustomed to this kind of battle, and 
could not be so easily overcome. They must take care lest 
the King be betrayed through the ignorance of his Divines, 
and expose his wliole kingdom to ridicule. Th^ nmbition orf 


3^2 LIFE OF CALVIN. letters. 

the King gave the preference to this advice. Twelve were 
elected to dispute at Melun, on the various controverted 
points, and were ordered to refer their decisions to the King. 
They promised, under oath, to keep the transactions in si- 
lence. But I certainly know, though they be silent, that 
they aim entirely at suppressing the truth ; and however 
they dissemble, as though they were seeking some kind of 
reformation, it is unquestionably a fact, that they are agitat- 
ing this one point alone : How the light of the true doctrine 
may be buried, and their own tyranny established. I am 
persuaded that the advice of Cardinal Tournon was provi- 
dentially frustrated ; lest some of our brethren, unguarded 
and unsuspecting, should be ensnared. You remember that 
the same artifices were made use of against you by Bellai. 
But if we turn unto the Lord, all their assaults and machi- 
nations will be vain. Farewell, most excellent man and re- 
spected friend. May the Lord be always present with you, 
and long preserve you in health for his Church. 


January 18, 1545. 

[The following letter is on the same general subject with 
a part of the preceding ; and is therefore here inserted in 
•connection with that.] 

Calvin to Melancthon. 

I wish that my sympathy in your grief, while it dis- 
tresses me, might in some measure relieve you. If the fact 
is as the brethren of Zurich say, they certainly had a 
just cause for writing. With what rashness your Pericles 
(Osiander) continues to thunder ? Especially as his cause is 
only the worse for it. We all owe much to him, I confess ; 
and I should be \\ illing to have him possess the chief Ma- 


gistracy, if he only knew how to govern himself. We must, 
however, always take heed, in the Church, how much defe- 
rence we pay to men. The work is done, when any one has 
more power than all the rest; especially, if this one has no- 
thing to check him in making all possible experiments. In 
the present deranged state of things, we perceive how diffi- 
cult it is to quiet the disturbances. If we all, however, ex- 
ercised that disposition which ought to guide us, some re- 
medy perhaps might be found. We are certainly transmit- 
ting to posterity a pernicious example, by consenting to aban- 
don our liberty, rather than to disquiet the mind of one 
man with some trifling mortification. His passions are vehe- 
ment, and he is subject to violent paroxysms. He also 
boasts of this vehemency, in proportion as we all indulge 
him, and suffer every thing from him. If this example of 
insolent domination manifests itself, at the very opening of 
the Reformation of the Church, what will shortly take place, 
when things shall have fallen into a still worse condition ? 
Let us weep, therefore, for the calamity of the Church ; 
let us not suppress our grief in our own breasts ; but ven- 
ture at length to give our lamentations a free circulation. 
WTiat if you were, by the permission of God, reduced to the 
extreme necessity of having extorted from you a fuller con- 
fession concerning this subject ? I acknowledge, indeed, that 
what you teach is perfectly true ; and that, by your mild 
manner of teaching, you leave endeavoured hitherto to recal 
others from contention ; and I commend your prudence and 
moderation. But while you avoid this subject, (Consul)stan. 
tiation,) as some dangerous rock, lest you incur the displea- 
sure of some, you leave many in suspense and perplexity, who 
require of you something more decisive, in which they may 
acquiesce. It is, however, a dishonour to us, as I remember 
to have said to you before, that we do not consignare, rati- 
fy, at least with'wA-, that doctrine, whidi so jnaiiy piou^ per- 

324 LIFE OF CALVIN. eettbrs. 

sons have delivered to us, testatam, sealed with their own 
blood. Perhaps God will now open to you the way for a 
full and firm explanation of your mind, on this subject; 
that those who depend on your authority, whom you know 
to be very many, may no longer remain in doubt. I do not 
say this so much to awaken as to console you. For unless 
I hoped that something of this kind would arise from this 
turbulent and overbearing insurrection, I should be affected 
with a grief much more severe. However, we must quietly 
wait for such a termination as the Lord will please to grant. 
In the mean time, let us preserve our course with unyield- 
ing resolution. 

I give you many thanks for your answer, and also for the 
singular kindness, with which you have treated Claudius, as he 
informs me. From your kind and generous reception of my 
friends, I am enabled to form an opinion of yoiu" disposition 
towards me. I give sincere thanks to God, that on the 
chief heads of thai question, (as stated in the preceding let- 
ter,) concerning which we were consulted, our opinions have 
so entirely agreed. For although there is a very small dif- 
ference about some particulars, yet as to the substance of the 
matter, we perfectly coincide. 

June 28, 1445. 


BucER TO Calvi2s^, wishcs health. 

Beseech the Lord fervently for the health of this Church ; 
that she may learn to lose her life, that she may save it. 
The Lord preserve you, and strengthen you against all evils. 
iMay your wife and household be preserved j and may tlje 
.>ame gracious Being preserve mine also. 

March 30, 1547, 


BucEn TO Calvin, S. D. 

O my Calvin ! is not God tlms wanting to his promieef , 
because we have despised them ? How suddenly all our 
loftiness is fallen into baseness and misery ? Thus a just 
God punishes us, and will still punish that contempt of his 
name, which he has so long suffered from our abusive hy- 
pocrisy. He will vindicate his name also from Antichrist, 
by whose endless and most insolent reproaches it is daily 
abused. But when we shall at length perceive by whom we 
are cast down, and how justly we have merited that fall, 
we may return to our Father who is chastising us. Pray 
instantly the Lord Jesus, who gives repentance and faith, 
that he would pierce the hardness of our hearts, and pene- 
trate them with a true feeling andgi'ief for our impiety ; and 
that he would give us wholly to trust in and consecrate our- 
selves to him, that, in prayer, we may seek the Fathei' through 
him, for the pardon of our sins ; which, unless they are re- 
moved from us, threaten us with sudden destruction. I do 
not, however, fear the destruction of the kingdom of Christ^; 
I am confident, that it will be gloriously extended ; and 
that Antichrist will be daily worn down ; but my fear is, 
that the Lord will use us Germans for this purpose. Other 
things this brother will communicate. The Lord be with 
you. Salute most affectionately all yours for me. 

Yours, BUCER. 

July 19, 154r, 

326 LIFE OF CALVIN. letters. 


J. Calvin to the Protector of England. 

Although God has endowed you, most noble Lord, for your 
station, with the fortitude, prudence and other virtues, which 
the magnitude of the office demands ; yet as you acknowledge 
me to be a servant of his Son, whom you account yourself to 
prefer before all things else, I have persuaded myself that 
you would receive it kindly, that I should write to you in his 
name. I propose to myself nothing more, than that you 
should continue to advance his glory, by pursuing the work 
you have begun, until you have brought his kingdom to the 
most desirable state, of which it is capable on earth. In pe- 
rusing this letter you will perceive, that I have produced 
nothing of my own, but have transcribed from the scriptures 
whatever you have here for your benefit. When I consider 
the singular greatness to which you are raised, I am fully 
sensible, with how much difficulty, my littleness will find ac- 
cess to you. But as you do not despise the doctrine of that 
master to whom I am devoted, and as you consider it a dis- 
tinguished privilege to be in the number of his disciples, I 
need not apologize in many words, believing that you are suf- 
ficiently prepared to receive whatever manifestly comes from 
him. We certainly have reason to thank God our Father, 
that he has been pleased to use your labours, in so great a 
w^ork, as that of restoring his pure and sincere worship in the 
kingdom of England ; in causing that the doctrine of salva- 
tion, chiefly by your means, should be publickly and faithful- 
ly announced to all, who will deign to open their ears ; in 
strengthening you, with so great resolution and constancy, to 
persevere undismayed, through so many difficulties and in- 
sults ; and that he has hitherto assisted you with his powerful 


hand, followed with his blessing and prospered your counsels 
and labours. These are so many arguments with the pious 
for glorifying his holy name. But seeing that the adversary 
is perpetually exciting fresh opposition, and that the matter 
itself is of the most peculiar and difficult undertaking, to al- 
lure men, who are by nature addicted to falsehood, to a peace- 
able submission to the truth of God ; and also that there are 
other causes which delay this progress, especially those deep 
rooted superstitions of Antichrist, which are with extreme 
labour overcome in the minds of many ; it appeared to me, 
that you personally needed to be confirmed by pious exhor- 
tations in this so arduous undertaking ; and I doubt not but 
you have found yourself the benefit of this from experience. 
I shall on this account be more free and full in my observa- 
tions. As I hope that my advice will answer your wishes, so 
I conclude that you will take, in good part, my exhortation ; 
and although it should be unnecessary, yet that the zeal and 
solicitude which prompted me in this business will meet with 
your approbation. Moreover, the present perilous situation 
of affairs, which you yourself acknowledge, furnis}i£s a still 
stronger reason, why my endeavours should be more accepta- 
ble to you. Wherefore, I entreat you, most noble Lord, to 
attend patiently to the few remarks which I have determined 
to submit to your consideration. I hope that, in return for 
your attention to them, they will afford you that assistance, 
which will enable you more vigom'ously to pursue the holy 
work, for the completion of which God is pleased to use you 
as an instrument. I doubt not but that those great tumults, 
which have occurred for some time past, have given you much 
trouble and cinxiety, especially since many took offence, who 
were provoked in a great measure by the reformation of reli- 
ligion. It cannot be, I say, but that the observation of these 
things must excite in you various emotions, whether you re- 
flect on your own apprehensions about them, or turn your at- 

328 LIFE OF CALVIN. betters. 

tention to the clamours of the wicked, or the consternation of 
the good. This rumour spread to so great a distance deeply 
aii'ected me, until I understood that assistance from the Lord 
began to be manifested. But since that fire is not yet extin- 
guished, and it is an easy matter for the adversary again to 
rekindle it, place before your eyes the memorable example of 
the pious King Hezekiah, which we have so expressly related 
to us in the scriptures. Having abolished the superstitions 
from Judea, and established the pure worship of God ac- 
cording to his law, he was suddenly overtaken with so op- 
pressive a war, that he was considered by many as lost and 
ruined beyond recovery. Thus the scriptures appositely 
bring those things together, that while he was wholly enga- 
ged in restoring the true worship of God to its place, the is- 
sue of his labour was in appearance most unfavourable to him. 
He evidently had every reason to hope, that while he was so 
heartily engaged in building up God's kingdom, he should se- 
cure the most perfect tranquility of his own. All pious Prin- 
ces, apd Governours of Provinces, should apply this example 
to themselves, that they may proceed more courageously in 
abolishing all idolatry, and in procuring lawfully the true 
worship of God, as their duty demands ; and moreover that 
they may understand that their faith is to be subjected to 
similar trials through many temptations. Thus the Lord 
permits, indeed thus he wills, both to manifest their constan- 
cy, and prepare them to raise their eyes above this world. In 
the mean time, the adversary will thrust himself in the way ; 
and though unable openly to destroy the true doctrine, he 
will not cease to plot its ruin by sophistry and cunning. To 
this purpose is the admonition of James, That while we 
observe the endurance of Job, we should consider the end of 
the Lord. In the same maimer, terminated the trial of the 
pious King Hezekiah, with whom the Lord was present, and 
in his greatest straits gave him, on that account, a far more 



signal victory. Wherefore, since his hand is not shortened, 
nor his support of the truth less near his lieart than in for- 
mer ages, you must not despair of his aid, by whatever tem- 
pests you may be tossed. 

That the greater part of men resist the Gospel, and direct 
all their exertions to prevent its progress, should be no mat- 
ter of surprise. Such, indeed, has been the unceasing ingra- 
titude of the world, that they turn their backs upon God 
when he calls them, and kick against him when he pur^roses 
to put his yoke upon them. Men, by nature, are enslaved to 
hypocrisy, and cannot bear to be brought to the liglit of 
the Gospel, which would reveal their pollution and guilt ; 
nor to be rescued from the darkness of their superstitions, un- 
der the shade of Avhich they sleep in quiet repose. It is not 
a new thing for mankind to make opposition, when the at- 
tempt is made to bring them back to the obedience and ^vor- 
ship of God. We should njot, therefore, be negligent or timid 
in the discharge of our duty. For when they have gone to the 
extremes of disorder, and have exhausted their rage, they are 
confounded at once, and necessarily fall by their own extra- 
vagance. As it respects God, surely all these ragings and 
foamings of men are held by him in derision, as it is express- 
ed in the second Psalm. Therefore, winking at their out- 
ragee, he will be silent, as if he treated the matter with in^ 
difference ; but at length they will be repressed 1)y his power. 
Armed with the same power, we shall sustain, by his invincible 
protection, all the efforts of Satan against us ; and we shall, 
in the end, perceive, in every deed, that the Gospel, as a 
messenger of peace, brings reconciliation with God, and tends 
to establish peace among men, as the Lord testifies by Isaiah. 
When the kingdom of Christ shall be established by his in- 
struction, it shall come to pass^ that they shall beat their 
swords into plough-shares^ and their spears into priming-hooks. 
Ife. ii. 4?; In the mean time, although srditioH?? and tumults, 


nSO LIFE OF CALVIN. xetterf, 

excited against tlie Gospel, arise from the wickedness and 
obstinacy of men, yet it becomes us to look to ourselves, and 
conclude, that God is thus punishing us for our own sins, al- 
though it is evident, that he uses as instruments those who 
are the very servants of Satan. It is an old objection, that the 
Gospel Avas the cause of all those evils which afflict the hu- 
man race. And indeed it is evident from history, that from 
the time in which the Christiam religion began to be spread 
through the Avorld, there was scarcely a corner which was 
not afflicted with extreme evils. The constant commotions 
of wars arose like some conflagration, by which all things 
were consumed ; floods prevailing on the one hand, and on 
the other pestilence and famine ; here the end of all go- 
vernment, and there the inversion of all order, as if the world, 
absolutely conspiring against itself, was broken to pieces and 
dissolved. The same has happened in this age, since the Gos- 
pel began to come forth from the darkness with which it was 
covered* The face of things exhibited a miserable appear- 
ance ; complaints were every where circulated, that we Avere 
born in a most unhappy period ; and there were few who did 
not faint under so great a pressure of difficulties. But while 
we feel these wounds, we ought to advert to the hand that 
inflicts them, and to the cause of their infliction ; what this is, 
is by no means obscure, nor difficult to be perceived. It is 
certain, that the word of God, by which we are led in the 
way of salvation, is an incomparable treasiu-e. Let us then 
examine it ourselves, with as much reverence as it is oJffered 
to us by its author, and it will be received by us. When 
that is accounted vile with us, which with him is of great 
moment, who will not acknowledge, that it is perfectly just 
with him, to punish in return our ingi'atitude ? Let us hear 
the declaration of Christ, Luke xii. 47. That servant which 
knew his Lord's mill and did it not, shall be beaten with nmny 
stripes. Since therefore we are so negligent in obeying the 


will of God, the knowledge of which is an hundred fold more 
abundant with us than in former ages, it should not appear 
strange, that his indignation should be more vehemently en- 
kindled against us, who of all men ^re the most inexcusable. 
And since we do not labour to have the good seed grow and 
be fruitful, it is just that briars and thorns should be cherish- 
ed among us by the artifice of the adversary, by the prickings 
of which we may be vexed. And lastly, as we do not render 
to the Creator that which is justly due to him from us, it is 
right that we should experience the obstinacy of men against 

But to address myself to you more immediately. Most 
noble Lord, there are, as I understand, two sorts of seditious 
persons, ^vho have risen up against the King, and the go- 
vernment of the kingdom. Some, who are passionate and 
hasty, would introduce ura^iuv, confusion^ every where under 
the name of the Gospel ; and others have become so harden- 
ed in the superstitions of Antichrist, that they cannot endure 
their removal. Both of these classes deserve to be restrained 
by the civil power, which God has committed to your 
hands ; since they rise up not only against the King, but 
against God himself, who has placed the King on the tlirone, 
and appointed you the protector of his person and Majesty. 
Your first and main object must be to provide, a£ far as may 
be, that those who have some relish for the gospel, and 
have determined to devote themselves to it, may receive it 
with humility and reverence of mind, renouncing their own 
wills, and, as their duty requires, giving up themselves en- 
tirely to God, For thus it becomes them to consider, that 
the Lord, by these emergencies would awaken them, that 
they may profit more seriously by his word than they have 
hitherto done. Those fanaticks, who would MJsh to change 
the world into a licentious freedom, are expre.ssly raised up 
by Satan, that tlirough them the gospel juay be reproached ; 

332 LIFE OF CALVIN. betters, 

as if it were the cause of rebellion against rulers, and intro- 
duced into the world unrestrained licentiousness. It is the 
duty of the pioiis to mourn the pernicious labours of these 
wicked men, and patiently implore of the Lord, that he 
would send that light, which will sooner or later most 
certainly dissipate this darkness. The Papists, while they 
labour to defend the filthiness and abominations of their 
Romish idols, betray more and more their open hatred of the 
benefits of Christ and all his commandments, which extremely 
afflicts those who have a particle of pure zeal remaining. 
Wherefcwe, let the pious aclmowledge, tliat these things are ap- 
pointed of God,as so many scourges to chastise them, because 
they do not bring forth the legitimate fruits of the Gospel. 
Let the principal and only expedient, applied to quiet these 
commotions, be the true conformity to the image of Christ 
in those who have professed his name ; and so let them testi- 
fy, that pure Christianity abhors all confusion of every kind. 
Let them prove, by their uniform modesty and temperance, 
that they are governed by th€ word of God, so that they 
may by no means be accounted lawless and unruly. Thus 
-will their righteous and holy life shut the mouths of the 
impious. The Lord, being appeased, will remove the rod 
of correction, and instead of the punishment which he in- 
flicts on the despisers of his word, he will follow the repent- 
ance of his people with the most assured blessing. It be- 
comes the Nobility and Magistrates especially to be first in 
giving this example, and foremost in submitting, with fear 
and reverence, to the yoke of Clu'ist, the Son of God and 
supreme Lord of all. These, I say, must exhibit the sincere 
faith and obedience of body and of soul, that he may in re- 
turn repress the pride and rage of those, who unjustly mag- 
nify themselves against their rulers. It is the highest con- 
cern of the Princes of this age, to govern their subjects iji 
such a manner, as to prove that they are themselves in sub- 



jection to Christ, anxl to give all diligence, that his authority 
may extend itself over all, from the highest to the lowest. 
Wherefore, I ask of you, most noble Lord, through Christ 
himself, and that singular aJiection with which you embrace 
the kingdom of your nephew, which is exhibited in a lumi- 
nous manner, in all your conduct, to exercise all your com- 
bined influence and vigilance, that the truth of God may he 
preached with the fullest authority and efficacy ; and 
that fruits worthy of the celestial seed may be produced. 
That this may be effected, w ithhold not your han<:i from pur- 
suing the full and entire reformation of the Church, which 
you have begun. 

That you may more easily appreheiid my thoughts, I will 
reduce the whole to three heads : — First, concerning the true 
method of correctly teaching the people. Second, concern- 
ing the extirpation of those abuses which have hitherto been 
retained. Third, concerning the correction of vices most 
perfectly, and endeavouring to prevent the gro^^ th of scan- 
dals and luxury, on account of which the name of the Lord 
is blasphemed. As it respects the first head, there is no oc- 
casion, that I should dwell long upon the detail of doctrines. 
Concerning these there is much reason that I sliould give 
thanks to God, by whom you are so illuminated in the know- 
ledge of the pure doctrines, that you take care that these 
should be publickly taught. You are not, I say, to be taught 
by me, the faith of Christians, and the doctrines w hicli are 
maintained by them ; since the true faith has been restored 
and published by you in a meetuig of the Church. But if 
any one would have a summary of the worship of God, it 
may be reduced to this — That we have one God, the Go- 
vernour of our consciences: for the direction of these, we 
must make use of his law alone for the rule of devotion, Icsi 
we bring to his worship any of the vain traditions of men : 
lie must moreover be worshipncd by all, according to his 

334 LIFE OF CALVIN. letters, 

own nature, with the whole mind and heart; But since 
there is nothing in us except a miserable corruption, which 
occupies both our senses and affections, we must acknowledge 
that entire abyss of iniquity, and dread it when acknow- 
ledged. In this manner, having obtained a true knowledge 
of our state, as being in ourselves broken, wounded, lost, de- 
prived of all dignity and wisdom, and finally of any power 
to do good, we must at last flee to the Lord Jesus Christ, 
the only fountain of all blessings, to partake of whatever he 
offers, and principally that incomparable treasure of his death 
and passion, by which method alone we may become entire- 
ly reconciled to God the Father. Purified by the sprinkling 
of his blood, we shall be assured that none of those stains 
will remain in us, which would cover us with shame before 
his celestial throne. We shall be persuaded of the eflacacy of 
his perpetual sacrifice, by which we have sealed to us the 
gratuitous remission of sins, and on which we must fasten as 
the refuge and anchor of salvation. Being sanctified by his 
Spirit, we shall be consecrated in obedience to the righteous- 
ness of God ; and confirmed by his grace, we shall come off 
more than conquerors over Satan, the world and the flesh. 
Being members of his body, we shall npt doubt but that 
God will number us in the family of his children ; and we 
shall address him with entire confidence by the legitimate 
and endearing name of Father. This is the design of the 
true doctrine, which is ever to be preserved and heard by 
all in the Church of God, that all may sincerely aim at this 
mark ; and that each individual gradually withdrawing him- 
self from the world may raise himself to Christ his head, 
who is in heaven, by perseverance, prayer, morals and ha- 

But as the Lord has been pleased to spread so abundantly 
about you his most precious light, which had so long been buri- 
ed under llx^ dJitrl ness of Antichrist, I will add but a few words 


more. What I have said only pertains to the form ctf teach- 
ing, in order that the proper method of instructing the peo- 
ple may be followed. For example, they must be pricked to 
the quick, that each one may be sensible of the words of the 
Apostle, the word of God is quick and pojicrful, and sharper 
than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asun- 
der of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow ; and is 
a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Heb. iv. 12. 
This, I say, I inculcate more expressly, because I fear that 
there are but few lively Preachers in the kingdom ; and that 
the greater part have recourse, in vecitationis modum, to the 
method of reading. I perceive also some cause of that scarci- 
ty among you ; and as you have not in your power sound 
and well qualified Pastors, that defect must be supplied in 
its proper manner. You must also beware of unstable and 
rash men, w ho, in a change of things, are carried far beyond 
all bounds, and prate forth their own dreams for the word of 
God. Nothing of this kind should hinder the establishment 
of the institution of Christ for preaching the gospel. The in- 
stituted preaching must not be dead, but animated, and ti- 
itcXual for instruction, exhortation and reproof, as the Apos- 
tle testifies to Timothy, 2d Tim. iii. so that if an unbeliever 
enter the meeting of the faithful, it should affect him, in such 
a manner that, pierced by the hearing of the word, he may 
give glory to God, as the same Apostle elsewhere shews, 
1. Cor. xiv.— You cannot be ignorant of what this Apostle 
tfiaches concerning the power and energy, w hich those should 
possess, who are desirous to approve themselves, as sound and 
well qualified Ministers of the word. He would have them 
free from those ornaments, and that species of eloquence, by 
which men display themselves, for admiration, in the thea- 
tre. In their discourses, the power of the Spirit should so lu- 
cidly manifest itself, as to act powerfully on the minds of the 
audience. No precaution should be used, to prevent that 

336 LIFE OF CALVIN. xetters. 

Spirit from maintaining its liberty and constant vigour in the 
Ministry of those whom the Lord has endowed with his 
gifts, for the edification of his Church. It is indeed necessary 
to watch over those unstable and wandering minds, 
who would take too much liberty to themselves. The 
door must be shut against curious innovations. The only 
means to be used for this purpose, is to have a sum- 
mary of doctrine received by all, which they may follow in 
preaching. To the observance of this, all Bishops and Cler- 
gy should be bound by oath, that no one might be admitted 
to the ecclesiastical office, unless he promises to keep inviolate 
the unity of doctrine. Let there, besides, be published a 
plain formula or Catechism, for the use of children, and those 
who may be more ignorant among the people. Thus th& 
truth will be rendered more familiar to them ; and at the 
same time they will learn to distinguish it from impostures 
and corruptions, which are so apt to creep in by little and lit- 
tle upon the ignorant and careless. It becomes you to be 
fully persuaded, that the Church of God cannot be without a 
Catechism ; for therein the true seed of doctrine is to be con- 
tained, from which at length the pure and seasonable harvest 
will be matured, and from this the seed may be multiplied 
abundantly. Wherefore, if you expect to build an edifice of 
this kind, which shall stand long, and be safe from destruction, 
^ive all care that each child should he instructed in the faith, 
by the Catechism published for that purpose ; that they may 
learn briefly, and as their capacities will admit, in what con- 
sists true Christianity. The usefulness of the Catechism will 
not be confined merely to the instruction of children. The 
consequence will also be, that the people, being taught by it, 
will be better prepared to profit by the ordinary preaching 
of the word ; and also if any one puii'ed up, should introduce 
any new opinions, he may be detected by an immediate ap- 
peal to the rule of the Catechism. As to the formula of 


prayers and ecclesiastical ceremonies, I very much approve, 
that a proper one should exist, from which the Pastors should 
not be permitted to vary, in the exercise of their office ; and 
which might consult the simplicity and ignorance of some 
persons, and also establish a more certain agreement of all the 
Churches among themselves. This would, moreover, put a 
check upon the instability and levity of those persons, who 
might attempt innovations, and it ^vould hav^e the same ten- 
dency as I have before shown the Catechism would have. 
Thus ought to be established a Catechism, the administra- 
tion of the sacraments, and the publick formula of prayers. 
But the expediency of this polity in the Church must not 
tend to prevent or diminish, in any manner, the origin- 
al energy of preaching the Gospel. As to this, it is the 
jftiore incumbent upon you, to provide proper and zealous 
Preachers, who may penetrate the recesses of the heart by 
the sound of the word of the Gospel. For there is danger, 
that the fruit of the Reformation now begun will be greatly 
diminished, unless attended with the most efficacious and 
zealous preaching of the word. It is not in vain said of 
Christ, He shall smite the earth mth the rod of his mouth, and 
with the breath of his lips shall he slay the nicked. Is. xi. 4. 
This is doubtless the true means, by which he conquers us, 
when by the power of his word he destroys and casts out 
whatever in us is repugnant to his glory. Hence the Gospel 
is called the kingdom of God. Wherefore, though the edicts 
and civil establishments of Christian Princes are of great 
weight, in promoting and confirming the authority of Chris- 
tianity, yet God has determined, in an appropriate manner, 
to exert his special power, by the spiritual sword of his word, 
which he has committed to the Pastors to be handled in the 

I proceed to the second head, concerning the abolishing 
and rooting out entirely of the abuses and corruptions, intro- 


338 LifE OF CALVIN. letters, 

duced by Satan, in former ages into tlte Church of God. It 
is evident, that the Christianity of Papacy is spurious and 
counterfeit ; and will be condemned in the judgment of God 
at the last day, as it is so manifestly repugnant to his word. 
If it is your intention to withdraw the people from this gulph, 
you must follow the example of the Aposlle. In treating of 
the restoration of the Lords's Supper to its proper use, he en- 
joins them to be united in removing those additions which 
had crept in among them : I have received, he says, of the 
Lord that jvhlch, also, I delivered unto you, 1 Cor. xi. 23. 
Hence we may deduce this general principle, that when we 
enter upon a lawful reformation, which may be acceptable to 
God, Ave must adhere to his pure and uncorrupted word ; 
fcr all those mixtures, engendered in the human mind which 
remain, will be so many manifest pollutions, tending to with- 
draw men from the right use of those things, which God has 
instituted for their salvation. Religion cannot be said to be 
restored to its purity, while this sink of pollution is only 
partially drawn off, and a frightful form of Christiajiity is 
embraced for the pure and original faith. I speak thus defi- 
nitely, as I understand that many think far otherwise ; that 
abuses must be tolerated, and untouched, while they would 
only direct the grossest corruptions to be removed. In op- 
position to this, experience teaches, that the human mind is 
a soil fertile in false inventions, and that when sowed even 
with the smallest grain, as if all its powers combined, it yields 
an immense increase. The method which the scripture 
points out is far different. David, speaking of idols, said, / 
mil not even take tip their names into my lips, Psal. xvi. 4, 
that he might show how odious tliey were to him. When we 
reflect how grievously we have sinned against God in this 
manner, by remaining in ignorance, we ought to be the more 
deeply impressed, with the necessity of removing our stand- 
ing as far as possible from all thq fermentations of Sattiu. 


What else were all those ceremonies, but so many allure- 
ments to entice and ensnare the miserable souls of men in evil ; 
as if they were established for this very purpose ? When we 
speak concerning caution, men must certainly l^e admonislied, 
lest they dash against those rocks which the sins of their past 
life have, in this respect, disclosed to them. AVho does not 
see, unless wholly hardened, that nothing can be obtained by 
this unhappy caution ? Whatever of this nature is fcft un- 
touched will operate like a strong leaven, to confirm thera 
more resolutely in the evil, and serve as an interposing veil*, 
to prevent the reception of the proposed doctrines, according 
to their purity and importance. I confess readily, that there 
should be moderation ; and that extremes in reforming cere- 
monies would not be useful. Nor is too much simplicity to 
be adopted, as the order of worship is to be accommodated 
to the benefit and capacity of the people. But I am not 
less decided in affirming, that strict attention is to be given, 
lest, under this pretext of expediency, any of the inven- 
tions of Satan or Antichrist should be tolerated. Tliose 
expressions of scripture, in the history of many of the Kings 
of Judah, are here in point. That when they took anay the 
idols, they did not cut them off wholly by the roots. They were 
condemned because they did not altogether destroy those 
high places, which we should call Chapels, dedicated to then* 
foolish devotions. 

Since, therefore, most noble Lord, God has conducted you 
thus far, endeavour, I beseech you, to deserve the name of 
the Reformer of his true Church ; and to render this age, 
under the King your nephew, correspondc^it to the age of 
the most pious Josiah. Take heed to have every thing in re- 
ligion established in its proper place, so that the King may 
have no other solicitude but to preserve the well regulated 
order. I will produce one example of thoFo corruptions 
which, like leaven, will, in some measure, sour the whole scr- 

340 LIFE OF CALVIN. letters. 

vice of the Lord's Supper. I understand, that with you, in 
the celebration of the Eucharist, prayers for the dead are re- 
cited. I am not however sufficiently informed, that this is 
designed as an approbation of the Popish purgatory. Nor 
am I ignorant, that the ancient custom of making mention of 
tlie dead, to declare the communion of ail believers in one 
body, may be adduced as a vindication of it. But this in^ 
vincible argument remains, that the Supper of the Lord is 
so wholly an ordinance that it is a crime to pollute it by any 
additions of men. Besides, when we call upon God, we are 
not to indulge our own passions, but to follow the rule of the 
Apostle, that the word of God be our foundation. Rom. x- 
But that commemoration of the dead, which embraces a 
veneration or commendation of them, does not correctly answer 
to the true and legitimate institution of prayer ; and is there- 
fore an assunientum, addition, which should not be allowed at 
the Lord's Supper. There are some other things perhaps 
not eq^ually to be condemned, but of such a nature as can- 
not be excused, as the Chrism,^ and the ceremony of Unction,'^ 
The Chrism is indeed the frivolous invention of those who, 
through ignorance, were not contented with the institutions 
of the Lord, and who persuaded themselves, that the holy 
Spirit must be represented in baptism by the use of oil, as if 
the sign of water w^as not sufficient for that purpose. Ex- 

* Chrism— Oil consecrated by the Bishop and used in the Romish Church 
in the administration of baptism, confirmation, ordination and extreme unc- 
tion. This last is called, in that Church, a sacrament ; and the oil is applied 
to the eyes, ears, nostrils, mouth, hands, feet, &c. of persons supposed to be 
near death. When the oil is applied to those parts, this prayer is used. 
By this holy unction, and his OAvn most pious mercy, may the Almighty God 
forgive thee whatever sins thou hast committed, by the eyes, by the hear- 
ing, smelling, tasting, Uc. &c. It is not considered so essential to salvation 
as baptism, and is not administered to children who are not capable of ac- 
tual sin. Lexici Theologici novi, &c. p. 1756 and 1757 By this, the spirit- 
ual infirmities and actual sins are supposed to be taken away, as original 
sir. is by baptism . 


ircme Unction emanated from the inconsiderate zeal of those, 
who were desirous of emulating the Apostlcs^^ although not en- 
dowed with the gift, wliich they possessed. When the Apos- 
tles made use of oil, in healing the sick, it was for the pur- 
pose of testifying the miracle of the cure by that visible sign. 
But when the gift of miraculous powers ceased, the use of 
that external anointing should also have been laid aside. 
All those things should be abolished at once, that nothing 
might be imposed on the Church of God, which is not con- 
formable to his word, and which would not appertain to its 
edification. But so it is, the weak must be indulged, that 
they may be confirmed by degrees, and advanced to more 
excellent things. However, the work of reformation is not 
to be delayed, to satisfy the foolish in things which may 
please their fancy, unless supported by other substantial rea- 
sons. I know that many have been prevented from proceed- 
ing farther in this work from these considerations ; that they 
feared a greater change would not be borne ; and that re- 
spect must be had to the progress which others had made, 
with whom peace was to be cherished by passing over many 
things. This should certainly have an influence in the 
affairs of this life, in which we are permitted to give up our 
own rights, so far as the desire and love of peace demand. 
But the rule will not hold as to the discipline of the Church, 
which is spiritual, and in ^\ hich uothuig is lawful that is not 
according to the word of God. It is not at the plcasm'c of 
any mortal, to conform things, in this business, to gratify 
some and favour others, in opposition to the will of Go(L 
Nothing is more displeasing to him, than that human jiru- 
dence should presume to oppose its calculations, e;«hcr to 
moderate, abolish or retract any thing in religion, different 
from what his sovereign pleasure demands. Unless then wc 
are willing to displease him, we must shut our eyes at once 
against all the desires of the fl(=h. And a*? to the dangers 


which may appear to threaten us, we must labour to avoid 
them as much as in us lies, in that way only which is lawful 
and right. The promise of the Lord is, that he will be pre- 
sent witli us, while we press forward in the right path. 
This one thing remains, that we strenuously discharge our 
duties, and commit the event to him. The only reason why 
the wise men of this world are so often frustrated, in their 
expectations, is that the Lord departs from them, inasmuch 
as they distrust his aid, and turn themselves to those artful 
means which God does not approve. If we would have the 
power of God to protect us, let us uprightly follow what he 
commands; and especially we must lay down this funda- 
mental principle, that the reformation of the Church is the 
peculiar work of his hands ; and that mee, in all their en- 
deavours, should give themselves up to be governed entirely 
by him. And what is of more consideration, is that the 
Lord commonly, both in reforming and preserving his 
Church, works in a manner, which attracts admiration by 
wholly surpassing all human apprehension. He will there- 
fore, on no account, permit the work of the reformation of 
the Church, to be conducted after the model of our under- 
standings, or that what is heavenly should be composed af- 
ter the form of the wisdom of this world. I would not, how- 
ever, exclude that upright p'udence, the use of which is of 
great importance in this business, lest improper methods be 
adopted, and the preponderance be too great on the one hand 
or the other, even while we all might wish to benefit the 
cause. But I would have religious concerns directed by the 
prudence of the spirit, and not of the flesh ; that we should 
enquire at the mouth of the Lord, pray that our under- 
standings may be guided by his commands, and that he 
alone would lead and direct us in all things. In doing this, 
we shall easily destroy the various temptations which might 
delay us in the midst of o\{r course. 


Therefore, most noble Lord, as you liavc happily entered 
upon the entire restoration of the Christian religion, in the 
kingdom of England, not depending on your own strength, 
but on the powerful hand of God, who has hitherto strength- 
ened and wonderfully established you, so determine to pro- 
ceed with the same confidence. And certainly, since the 
Lord supports, by his Providence, so many kingdoms which 
oppose him, he will nmch more regard those Avhich are 
rooted in him, and desire with all their eiforts to take him 
for their supreme Lord. 

I proceed to the third head, concerning suppressing vices 
and preventing scandals. I doubt not but that you have 
correct laws and commendable regulatioas, adapted to pre- 
serve tlie people in good morals. But the great «t«|;«, con- 
fusion, which I observe in the ^vorld, compels me to address 
you on this subject also ; that you may apply yourself to 
such measures as may hold the community in subjection to 
good and honourable discipline. In the first place, you 
should maintain the honour of God, in punishing those crimes, 
the prosecution of which, with men, is usually accounted un- 
necessary. For while theft, murder and robbery are most 
severely punished, because they lend to injure m^w, fornica- 
tion, adultery, drunJcennes and blasphemies of the name of God, 
are justified as things allowable, or not deserving great seve- 
rity. But God has pronounced far otherwise concerning 
these things. He shows how precious hi« name is in his sight, 
Tvlule it is cast out and ti'odden under foot with men. Nor 
can it be, that he will permit such horrid wickedness to go 
longer unpunished. We learn from the scripture, that for a 
single reproach against God, of the profane Kings Beiihadad 
and Sennacherib, a dreadful judgment fiom him almost wholly 
overwhelmed both them and their armies. As it respects 
adurtcry, what a shame it i^, that we, who bear the name of 
Christians, should be fur more indiilerent in punishing it than 

34^ LIFE Of CALVING letters- 

the Pagans themselves ; and that crimes of this kind should 
be passed over with a jest. Is the sacred union of mar- 
riage, the living image of our most holy union with the Son 
of God, to be thus trifled with and polluted with impunity ? 
Shall the most indissoluble of all human contracts be so per- 
fidiously violated ? Besides, fornication, if we regard the 
Apostle, is to be accounted as sacrilege, since our bodies, which 
are the temples of God, being thus manifestly polluted, are 
most basely cut off from the Spirit of God, and from Christ 
himself. Hence he adds, that fornicators and drunkards do 
not belong to the kingdom of God ; and expressly interdicts 
believers, from all commerce with them. From this it fol- 
lows, that such persons ought by no means to be tolerated in 
the Church of God. If these evils are wholly passed over, 
they will draw down the divine scourge, with which the 
whole earth is shaken ; for when it is so, that men pardon 
one another such enormous crimes, they summon against 
themselves the vindictive hand of God. If you wish, my 
Lord, to avert the wrath of God, I beseech you to give the 
most attentive care, on your part, to suppress the commission 
of these sins ; and to cause that those who profess Christianity 
may express and demonstrate the integrity of their profes= 
sion, by a course of life correspondent to their holy vocation. 
For as the doctrine is like the soul to animate the Church, so 
discipline and the correction of vices ought to hold the 
place of those nerves, which cherish and preserve the body 
pure and vigorous. The Bishops and Curates should be 
especially attentive, lest the Lord's Supper be polluted, by 
the admission of those who are in ill repute on account of 
their scandalous lives. But it is above all your duty, since 
God has raised you to your station, for the purpose of taking 
care, that all the subjects, each one in his place and calling, 
apply their labours, and fulfil their respective duties, that 
the established order may be legitimately preserved: 


I will not, my Lord, extend the prolixity of my letter, by 
excuses, nor by asking your pardon, for the freedom with 
which I have opened to you the sentiments of ray heart. 
Your prudence will discern the sincerity of my intentions, 
and your knowledge of the scriptures will enable you, with fa- 
cility, to ascertain the source from which I have drawn the 
preceding advice. I have no apprehension, that you will be 
disgusted, or account me too importunate, for having shown, 
as clearly as my slender capacity would allow, my affection- 
ate desire that you may extensively glorify the name of God* 
For this I supplicate him daily, and entreat him, that he 
would enrich you with his accumulated gifts ; confirm you by 
his Holy Spirit >vith true and invincible constancy ; protect and 
support you against all adversaries ; cover you and yours with 
his shield ; and so prosper your administration, that the King 
may have reason to celebrate his praise for having provided, 
in his tender years, so able a Protector of himself and his 
kmgdom. I close my letter, most humbly wishing you 
health and prosperity. 

Your Excellency's most devoted, 


Geneva, October 22, 1548. 


Calvin to Melancthon. 

rt was a saying of the ancient Satirists, Si natura negat, 
facit indignatio vcrsum, If nature refuses, sorrow will make 
verses. It turns out far otherwise with me. My present 
grief is so far from giving me animation, that it almost 
makes me speechless. Not only the power of utterance fails 
jne, in expressing the feelings of my mind, but I am oppress- 
ed, and almof^t filcnced by the consideration of the subjerl. 


346 LIFE OF CALVIX. liters, 

concerning which I am about to v/rite. You must then im- 
agine me rather to sigh than to speak. How greatly the adr 
versaries of Christ rejoice at your controversy Avith the Mag- 
deburgenses,^ is too evident from their mockery and sneers. 
Those writers certainly afford a foul and detestable spectacle 
to God, and his Angels, and to the whole Church. In this^ 
business, my Philip, even if you were without fault, it would 
be the duty of your prudence and equity, to devise some re- 
medy to heal the evil, or at least to afford some relief for 
mitigating its severity* But pardon me, if I do not wholly 
exculpate you from blame. From this^ you may be able to 
conjecture, how severe judgments others pass upon you, and 
what unfavourable and scandalous observations they make 
about you. Permit me, therefore, my Philip, to perform the 
duty of a true friend, in freely admonishing you ; and if I 
deal with you somewhat more sharply, do not impute it to 
a diminution of my former respect and affection for you. 
Although that will nbt be strange or unusual t® you, I am, 
however, more apt to offend by a rustick simplicity, than to 
use adulation in favour of any man. I have experienced that 
nothing is more acceptable to you than ingenuousness, and 
therefore I labour under less anxiety, lest you should take 
it ill, even if any thing should justly displease you, in ray 
reproof. I wish, indeed, that all your conduct, without 
exception, could be approved of by me and others. But I 
accuse you now to your face, that I may not be obliged 
to assent to tlie declarations of those who condemn you in 
your absence. This is the sum of your defence, Modo re- 
tineatur doctrinoR ]furitm, de rebus cxtcrnis non esse pertina- 

* MatthlasTlacius lUyricus left AVittemberg, and went to Magdeburg^, in 
April, 1549, where he began writing against the Wittemberg Divines (Me- 
lancthon, 8»c.). This was the first introduction to that religious war, which 
opened the door for many evils, the termination of which, says Bucholtzcr, 
in 1610, we have not yet seen. Buchotoer Clironologia, anno 1^49 


cltcr dhnicandumy Only let the purity of doctrine be preserv- 
edf and we nill not pert inacioushj contend about external forms. 
Now, if what is every where asserted for fact is true, you 
extend neutral and indij}'ereiit things much too far. You 
know that the worship of God is corrupted a thousand ways 
among the Papists. AVe have removed the most intolerahle 
corruptions. Now, the impious, tliat they may fiiiisJi their 
triumph over the subjected Gospel, command them to ht re- 
stored. If any one refuses to admit them, Avill you ascribe 
it to obstinacy ? It is well known how far this would l>e 
from your moderation. If you have yielded too much for 
acconmiodation, you cannot be surprised if many impute it 
to you for a fiiult. Besides, some of thoee things, which you 
account indiffcrenty are manifestly opposed to the word of 
God. Perhaps others urge some things m ith too much pre- 
cision ; and, as is usual in coatroversies, represent other" as 
odious, in which there is not so much evil. But, if I untier- 
Ftand any thing of divine truth, you have yielded too much 
fo the Papists ; both because you have loosened those things 
which the Lord has bound l)y his word, and because you 
have given them an opportunity perversely to insult the Gos- 
pel. AVhen circumcision was still allowable, do you see Paul, 
because some mahcious and cunning men had laid snares for 
the liberty of the pious, obstinately denying that that cere- 
mony was given to them of God ? Does he not, therefore, 
boast that he had not yielded them, even for an hour, 
that the truth of tlie Gospel might remain entire a\ itli tlic 
Gentiles ? Gal. ii. 4, 5. Our adversaries do not, at tiiis day, 
trouble us about circumcision ; but, lest they should leave 
us any thing sound, they endeavour to infect, with their pol- 
luted leaven, all the doctrines and exercises of religion. You 
say that the ]Magdeburgenses contend only concerning the //- 
Ticn robe. To wliat this might tend, I do not know, for the 
•.ise of the linen ro])e, with many foolish <'er<'monies has 


been, I conceive, retained hitherto, both a7nong yourselves, 
and among them. But it is true that all honest and reli- 
gious persons complain, that you have countenanced those 
gross corruptions, which evidently tend to vitiate the purity 
of the doctrines, and to weaken the stabihty of the Church. 
As, perhaps, you have forgotten what I formerly said to you, 
I will now recall it to your mind. That ink is too dear to 
us, if we hesitate to testify those things hy our handrwriting, 
which so many martyrs, from the common flock, daily seal with 
their blood. I said, indeed, the same, when we appeared to 
be much farther from these assaults. Since, then, the Lord 
has drawn us out on the field of battle, it becomes us to 
contend the more courageously. Your station, you know, 
is diiierent from that of most others. The trepidation of a 
General, or the leader of an army, is more ignominious than 
even the flight of common soldiers. All will condemn the 
wavering of so great a man as you are, as insufferable. 
Give, therefore, in future, a steady example of invincible 
constancy. By yielding a little, you have excited more com- 
plaints and lamentations, than the open desertion of an hun- 
dred, in an inferior station, would have produced. Although 
I am firmly persuaded, that you would never be compelled, 
by the fear of death, to turn aside in the least from an up- 
right course; yet I suspect that possibly another kind of 
fear might exercise your mind. For I know how much you 
dread the impeachment of barbarous harshness. But you 
should remember, that the servants of Christ should never 
regard their reputation more than their lives. We are not 
better than Paul, who proceeded quietly through reproach 
and dishonour. It is, indeed, severe and painful, to be 
judged as obstinate and tempestuous men, who would wreck 
the whole world, rather than condescend to some modera- 
tion. Your ears should long since have become seasoned to 
these reproaches. You are not so unknown to me, nor am 


I so unjust to you, as to suppose that you are eager, like 
ambitious men, for popular applause. I doubt not, how ev- 
er, but that you are sometimes discouraged by reflections 
like these ; — W^hat I — Is it the part of a prudent and consi- 
derate man, to divide the Church on accoitnt of some minvic 
and almost frivolous things ? May not peace be redeemed by 
some indifferent inconvenience ? What madness it is, so to dc* 
fend every thing to the utmost, as to neglect the substance of 
the whole Gospel ! When these and such like argu- 
ments were form.erly made use of by artful men, I thought 
with myself, that you were more influenced by them tlian 
was right ; and I now ingenuously open my mind to you, 
lest that tnily divine magnanimity, with whicli, otherwise, 
you are richly endowed, should be impeded in its operation. 
The reason of this my earnestness is well known lo you ; 
that I would sooner die a hundred times with you, than see 
you survive the doctrine which you preach. I do not say 
this, apprehending any danger, lest the truth of God, made 
known by your ministry, should ever perish, or because I dis- 
trust, in any manner, your perseveriince ; but because you 
will never l^e solicitous enough in your watchfulness, lest the 
impious artfully take that opportunity of cavilling at the 
Gospel, which they will seize from your flexible disposition. 
Pardon me for unloading into your bosom these miserable 
although unavailing sighs. Farewell, most distinguished 
man, always sincerely respected by me. May the Lord con- 
tinue to guide you by his Spirit, to support you by his 
grace, and defend you by his shield. Salute my friends, if 
there should be any with you. You have many liere who 
respectfully salute you ; for many, for the sake of avoid ius> 
idolatry, have fled from France into voluntary exile in i]\i: 

85D LIFE OF CALVIN. letters. 


Calvin to Bucer, wishes health. 

Although your letter contained a mixture of good and bad 
news, it however gave me great satisfaction. I wish I could, 
ill some measure at least, alleviate the sorrow of yoru* mind, 
and those cares with which I perceive you are distressed. 
We all beseech you, again and again, not to wear yourself out 
without advantage. It is not, indeed, consistent with your 
piety, nor becoming, nor at all wished by us, that you should 
be cheerful and joyous, while there are such great and multi- 
plied causes for mourning. You ought however, as much as 
possible, to preserve yourself for the Lord and the Church. 
You have, indeed, run a long race ; but you know not how 
much still remains to you. Perhaps I, who have advanced 
but a small distance from the goal, am nearer the end of my 
race. The direction and termination of our course are in the 
hand of God. That I may be still more active, amidst the 
dangers which threaten me on every hand, I make use of the 
numerous deaths, which are daily taking place before my 
eyes. In England, you are exercised with battles, while in 
this city we cherish dilatory fears. I hope, however, that 
your internal commotions are settled, as report says, that you 
have a truce with the French. I wish the conditions of a 
lasting peace could be established ; for we see the fencing 
master, w ho is exciting the two kingdoms against each othef, 
laughing in idleness, and watching the fortune of both, that 
lie may attack the victor, with all his strength, and spoil the 
conquered without labour or bloodshed ; thus triumphing 
over both, he 'will seize them as his prey. But considering 
the corrupt counsels which govern France, I despair of this 
^) They ^pi^r the Emperour beyond measure; but 


while they proudly despise others they arc not aware of his 
cunning. The I^ord is surely, by this blindness, punishing 
their atrocious cruelty against the pioue, which, as I under- 
stand, daily increases. I wish, as impiety gather? strength 
and waxes more violent in France, that the English, l)y a ri- 
val spirit of emulation, would contend for the substance and 
purity of Christianity, until they see every thing established 
among them according to the perfect rule of Christ. 

I liave, as you wished, and as the present state of afl'airs 
required, endeavoured to exhort the Lord Protector, It 
will be your duty to insist, by all means, if you can oljtain an 
audience, which I am persuaded you may, that the ceremo- 
nies which savour in the least of superstition should be abo- . 
lished from the publick service. This I expressly recom- 
mend to you, that you may free yourself from that reproach, 
with which you know many have unjustly loaded you ; for 
the adviser of publick measures is always considered as their 
author, or at least approver. This suspicion is so strongly 
fixed in the mind of some, that you ^\'ill not easily erase it 
with your utmost exertions. Some maliciously calumniate 
you, without any cause. This is an evil in some measure- 
without remedy, and you will not be able wholly to escapje. 
its influence. Care must be taken to give no cause of siispi 
cion to the ignorant, nor any pretext for calumny to the wick- 
ed. I regret very much, that N is so troublesome tv 

you without cause. I could wish him to loarn somehumuin- 
ty. I more easily pardon him, as he appears to be carried 
away, not so much by his perverseness, as by a blind im- 
pulse to be observed. You cannot conceive hov/ atrociously 
he abuses us and our innocent and absent friends. lie in- 
veighed especially against Viret, who was undcset vedly op- 
pressed by the iniquity of some, and the perfidy oi others. 
He violently pursued him, as he ^v•ouId the most abandoned 
betrayer of the Churcl). lie would certainly arcr^toni hin* 


self to mildness, if he observed the noxious intemperanee of 
his too fervid zeal and immoderate austerity. This indigni- 
ty you must receive, with other evils, with yodr accustomed 
equanimity. The Church of Zurich would not approve 1ms 
cause. On this subject, I disagree with you, as you think we 
injure our adversaries. You suppose that they never so 
grossly blundered, as to imagine that the body of Christ was 
extended every where. But you forget what Brentius among 
others has written, that Christ, when he lay in the manger, 
was glorious in heaven, etiam secundum corpus, even bodily, 
Tliat I may speak more openly, you know that the doctrine of 
the Papists is more modest and sober, than that of Amsdorf^ 
and his followers, who were as infatuated as the Priestess of 
Apollo. You knoAv how inhumanly Melancthon was treated, 
because he maintained some moderation. These deliriums 
necessarily diew with them idolatry. For what purpose is 
the sacrament of Luther to be adored, unless that an idol 
might be erected in the Church of God ? I have earnestly 
desired, that all these things might be buried. I have con- 
stantly insisted also, with the greatest firnmess among our 
neighbours,! that they should abstain from all invectives. To 
satisfy them, I have not hesitated to condemn all those er- 
rours, without calling them by name, to which I could by no 
means give my assent. Concerning the word place, you 
certainly appear to argue with too much subtilty. The ob- 
scurity more severely offends others, which they say you art- 
fully and designedly used. I am confident, however, that 
in this respect they err. But I do not see why you so dili- 

* Nicholas Amsdorf died in 1541 . He was a rigid adherent of Luther» 
and extravagantly asserted, that good -works roere an impediment to salvation. 
He was distinguished for his opposition to the Papists, and his controversy 
with Melancthon, who laboured to check this violent man, and to set the 
truth about good works in a proper light. Rees* Cyclopedia. 

t The Helvetick Churches, Zurich, &c. 


gently avoid what we teach, smcc Christ is mid to have as- 
cended into Heaven ; by which expression we understand dis- 
tance of places to be expressed. We do not dispute whe- 
ther there is a place in celestial glory, but whether the body 
of Christ is in this world. Since this question is clearly de- 
termined by the scriptures, I do not hesitate to embrace it 
for an article of my faith. And yet, as you will find it in 
our book, it was granted to the moroseness of some, not 
without opposition ; for I had tempered the expressions oth- 
erwise. As this formula which we had used contained no- 
thing but what I thought was true, religion did not require 
that it should be given up for others. You piously and pru- 
dently wish, that the eifect of the sacraments, and what 
God confers through them, should be explained more clearly 
and copiously than many will endure. The fault does not 
lie with me, that some things were not more distinctly illus- 
trated. Let us lament and still submit to those things 
which we are not permitted to correct. You will have en- 
closed in this letter a copy of the writing which they remit- 
ted to me. The two points which you feared they •v^'ould 
reject, they willingly embraced. If others had followed the 
mildness of Bullingcr, I should have easily obtained every 
thing I wished. It is well, however, that we agree in t^ie 
truth, and hold unitedly the chief doctrines of religion. Ii 
you had accommodated your Theses a little only in two 
points, you would have rendered them most appropriate. 
You should have stated distinctly, That Christ is bodily 5^'- 
parated from us who are in this norld, by the distance of pla- 
ces : You should have rejected decidedly all the inventions, 
by which the jninds of men are hitherto drami into supersti- 
tion ; and expressly vindicated the glory of the Jfoly Spirit 
and of Christ, so that their ejficacy should noP be transferred 
to the Ministers, or the elements. 


3di LIFE OF CALVirs'. xetters. 

The commencement of the conference, for establishing the 
union of opinion, presented nothing but despair. The light 
suddenly shone forth. The most eminent members, on their 
part, were desirous to communicate with other Churches. 

We cheerfully consented. The dissension of N-^ must be 

borne with an equal mind. Farel will write you a copious 
letter. Yiret does not presume to write. You cannot con- 
ceive how unjustly he is treated. He salutes you most af- 
fectionately, and begs you to excuse him. I\Iy colleagues 
salute you ^rith respect. There is nothing new here, except 
that Zurich and Bern have cut off all hopes of a league with 
France. Farewell, most beloved manj and ray much respect 
ed father in the Lord. — 


N TO Calvin. 

Grace and peace from our Lord. I need very much the 
consolation of your letters. For although I am not with- 
out good friends and brethren in the Lord, yet I am very 
anxious to know what ray old friends and tried colleagues 
are about ; and with what agreeraent and success the work 
of the Lord proceeds among tliem. I am also very desirous 
that they would advise, console and exhort me. Those 
things which are occasionally written to me frora ray coun- 
try, and other parts of Germany, greatly agitate my mind. 
Besides, the affairs of Christ are in such a situation here, 
that unless the Lord should regard, ^\ ith singular clemen- 
cy, our most amiable and religious King, and same other pi- 
ous men, it is greatly to be feared, that the awful wrath of 
God will be shortly enkindled against this kingdom. The 
Bishops have not yet been able to agree among them- 
selves, concerning the doctrine of Christ, and much less con- 



cerning the discipline. Very few parishes liave proper Pas- 
tors, and most of them are sold to noblemen. Some of the 
ecclesiastical order, and those too wlio would appear to he 
evangelical, hold three or four or more parislies, and yet 
perform ministerial duty in none of them ; but content tliem- 
selves with substituting those ^^ho are unwilling to be con- 
trolled by any rules, most of whom are uaal)le even to read 
English, and are at heart mere rank Papists. The heads of 
government have placed those over many parishes, w lio had 
been in monasteries, that they might free themselves from 
paying them a pension. These are mostly very ignorant, 
and totally unqualified for the sacred ministry. Hence you 
may find parishes in which no sermon has been preached 
for some years. J\Iere edicts, and the removal of the appen- 
dages of superstition, you well know, \\ ill not efTecl the resti- 
tution of the kingdom of Christ. Each of the Universities 
has many excellent Colleges, provided Avith ample funds, 
and many good laws, superior to any Universities in the 
world. A great number of stu"dents, above a hundred in 
most of them, are well educated, and have an honourable 
pecuniary allowance for their clothing and books. From 
these a successive number of faithful IMinisters ought to be 
furnished to the Churches ; for all the Masters of Arts are 
obliged to study theology, with the exception of only four, 
in each College, two of whom are bound to study medicine, 
and two the profession of law. The suilerance of that for- 
mer abuse has now gained such great strejigth, that much the 
greater part of the Fellows are violent Papists, or dissolute 
Epicureans. They make every exertion to entice the youth 
to their systems, and to imbue their minds w ith a hatred 
of the sound doctrines and discipline of Christ. Our iMinis- 
ters are so sparing of their sermons, that they did not preach, 
excepting one or two Sabbaths, during the whole of Lent, 
which as yet they would appear to observe, as the time of 


the death and resurrection of Christ ; nor do they hold any 
meeting of the people this day. Besides, most of our parish 
Blinisters recite the service, and administer the Supper in 
such a manner, that the people understand about as much 
concerning the mysteries of Christ, as they would if they still 
used the Latin, and not the vernacular tongue. When com- 
plaints of this most awful deficiency in the Churches are prefer- 
red, by pious men, to the heads of government, they say that it 
is the business of the Bishops to remedy these evils. When 
the complaints are carried to the Bishops, who lately era- 
braced the Gospel, they answer that they cannot correct 
them, unless authorized by a publick law of the kingdom. 
But, notwithstanding the great Councils of the kingdom are 
holden annually, civil questions have been so multiplied, that 
the cause of Christ could find no place for a hearing. Then 
they committed the deliberation of these things to so ma- 
ny persons of different opinions, that all of them cannot be 
assembled together at one time for this purpose, nor esta- 
blish any thing correct and substantial on so many im- 
portant questions. This delay of the cause of Christ is, in 
a great measure, the consequence of the efforts of many Bi- 
shops, who are more attached to the idleness and pomp 
of Antichrist, than to the cross of Christ. Connected with 
these are many active noblemen, who have enriched themselves 
by the goods of the Church, and who think that the pillaging 
of the Churches will be more profitable than piously re- 
forn:iing them. In addition to these evils, not a few reject 
all regard to repentance, faith, good works, and the com- 
munion and discipline of the Church ; and th,ey dispute and 
contend, and often with much impiety, for those doctrines 
alone, which will require less regard for true piety in the 
participation of Christ through the holy Supper. Tliese 
are principally the followers of those leaders, who zealous- 
ly write and assert, that it is fanaticism to attempt to re- 


form the discipline of the Church ; that those \\lio slu open- 
ly sJiould be bound to perfoijn penance, and that being 
done, they should be absolved from that bond, and receive 
the absolution of the Churcli formally from all sins connect- 
ed ^\ ith scandal. Thus they permit themselves to give any 
interpretations of the word of God, even of the most lumi- 
uous passages, which their prudence, or rather their pride, 
suggests to them ; to say notliing of the intluence of the hi^ 
trcd •v\hich they bear to those who teach correctly the true 

I write these things thus freely to you, my beloved Cal- 
vin, that you may pray more intensively for these Church- 
es; and when you shall write to the Duke of Somerset, that 
you may admonish him more seriously concerning this pillaging 
and betraying of the Churches, ^\ hich are, with very few ex- 
ceptions, entrusted to those wlio neither ]:no\v nor care any 
thing about Christ. I request of you, that no one read 
this letter, except Farel and Viret. You well know how injur! 
ous it would l>e, that these things should be made publick, 
and above all by us. jMultiply your prayers for his Majes- 
ty the King, whose proficiency in the study of science and li- 
terature is AV'onderful. The danger to which he is exposed 
you can easily imagine, as the Papists are every where 
greatly enraged, since they see and know , that the King is 
yet exerting all his powers to restore the kingdom of Christ, 
They know, too, that his eldest sister most pertinaciously 
adopts and defends Popery, w hether influenced by her dis- 
position or confidence in her cousin. Our indUrerence in the 
work of l)uilding the kingdom of Christ deserves these dan- 
gers, and naturally excites the endeavours of our atlversaries. 

Give thanks to God with me, that he has, in a great mea- 
sure, delivered me from my sickness, which again attacked 
me most seriously about the middle of March. I am able, 
with some diliiculty, to perform the duties of njy oflice ; 


though my Hmbs are -weak, and my hands so feeble that I 
write witli difiicultyo Beseech the Lord, that he may free 
me from these difficulties, and make me, in some degree, 
useful in his Church ; and that he would glorify his holy 
name in me, in whatever way he pleases. The best fare- 
well to you and all yours, to the excellent Farel and Viret, 
and your other colleagues of like worth. 
Cambridge, Uie day of Pentecost, 1550.* 


CalVin to Bullinger. (Extracts.) 

My Commentaries on Isaiah, and the canonical Epistles, 
jiave been lately printed. I dedicated them both to the 
King of England, and I added some private letters, in which 
I endeavoured to stir up the excellent disposition of the 

young Prince. News is arrived that Hooper is confined 

in prison. I would have preferred, as I advised him, that 
he should not contend so much about the linen robe and 
mitre, though I do not approve of them. 

March, 155L 

It is a favourable circumstance, that our opinions have so 
perfectly coincided in exhorting the King of England and 
his Counsellours to proceed in the work. By the messenger 
who carried my books and letters to the King, I also wrote to 
the Duke of Somerset, and exhorted hira to protect Hooper. 

April, 1551. 

* The above letter beuis internal proof of being written by Paul Fa^us, 
who was then at Cambridge. He was a German, and succeeded Wolfgang 
Caplto, in the Professorship of Theology at Strasburg, whei:^ he continued 
till he came into England \\[\h B'.icer. 1549. 

letters; life of CALVIiN". 359 


Thojias Cranmer to Calvin, Salutem precatur. 

As nothing tends more to separate t]ie Churches of God 
than heresies and differences about the doctrines of rehgion, 
^0 nothing more effectually unites them, and fortifies more 
powerfully the fold of Christ, than the uncorrupted doctrine 
of the Gospel, and union in received opinions. I have often 
wished, and now wish, that those learned and pious men, 
who exceil others in erudition and judgment, would assemble 
in some convenient place, where, holding a mutual consulta- 
tion, and comparing their opinions, they might discuss all 
the heads of ecclesiastical doctrine, and agree not only con- 
cerning the things themselves, but the forms of expression, 
and deliver to posterity some work, with the weight of their 
authority. Our adversaries are now holding their Council at 
Trent, that they may establish their errours. And shall we 
neglect to call together a pious Synod, that we may be able 
to refute their errours, and to purify and propagate the true 
doctrines ? They, as I hear, are making decrees ve^i rjj? 
«f ToAaT^f <«5, (iboift the worship of the bread. "We ought there- 
fore to make every effort, not only to fortify others against 
this idolatry, but that we also ourselves might agree on the 
doctrine of this sacrament. How much the dissensions aird 
variety of opinions, about this sacrament of union, weaken the 
Church of God, cannot escape your prudence. Although 
these differences may, in some places, be removed, yet I wish 
an agreement in this doctrine, not only about the things them- 
selves, but also about the words and forms of expression. 
You have my ardent wishes, concerning which I have writ- 
ten to Mclancthon and Bullinger, and I beg you to deliberate 

mo LIFE OF CALVIN. xetteks. 

among yourselves, in what manner this Synod can most con- 
veniently be assembled. Farewell. 

Your most beloved brother in Christ, 

THOjMAS, of Canterbury. 

Lambeth, March 20, 1552. 


Calvin to Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, wishes health 

Illustrious Sir, You prudently judge, that in this confused 
state of the Church, no remedy more appropriate can be ap- 
plied, than that pious and resolute men, exercised in the 
school of God, should meet among themselves, and publickly 
]3rofess their agreement in the doctrines of religion. We see 
by how many arts Satan is endeavouring to destroy the light 
of the Gospel, which has arisen by the wonderful goodness of 
God, and is extending its beams in every direction. The 
mercenary parasites of the Pope do not cease their railing, to» 
prevent the preaching of the pure word of Christ. Licen- 
tiousness so much prevails, and impiety has so increased, that 
religion is but a little removed from publick mockery. Those 
who are not the professed enemies of the Gospel are even now 
alfected by that lascivious impudence, which will shortly, 
unless counteracted, produce among us the most shameful 
confusion. It is not merely among the ignorant class of men, 
that this feverish and foolish curiosity and immoderate im- 
pudence reign ; but what is more shameful, it is much too 
prevalent among the order of Pastors. It is too well known, 
with \\hat delusive madness Osiander deceives himself, and 
fascinates some others. The Lord, mdeed, as he has done 
from the beginning of the world, can wonderfully, in ways 
\lnkno^^ n to us, preserve the unity of the true faith, and pre- 
vent its destruction from the dissensions of men. It is his 


will however, that those whom he lias appointed to watch 
should by no means sleep ; as he has det€rnune<^l, by the la- 
bours of his ministring servants, to purge the pure doctrine 
in the Church, from all corruptions, and to transmit it un* 
blemished to posterity. It is especially your duty, most ac- 
complished Prelate, as you sit more elevated in the watch- 
tower, to continue your exertions for ejecting this object. I 
do not say this, to stimulate you afresh ; as you have already, 
of your own accord, preceded others, and voluntarily exhort- 
ed them to follow your steps. I would only confirm you in 
this auspicious and distinguished labour by my congratula- 
tion. We have heard of the delightful success of the Gospel 
in England. I doubt not, but you have experienced Urn 
same trials, which Paul met with in his time : that the door 
being opened for the pure doctrine, many adversaries sudden- 
ly rise up against its reception. I kaow you have among you 
many advocates, capable of refuting the falsehoods of tlie ad- 
versary ; but still, the wickedness of those, who exert all their 
arts to make disturbance, proves that the most intense seduli- 
ty of the good will neither be too ardent nor superfluous. I 
know moreover, that your purpose is not confined to England 
alone ; but, at the same moment, you consult the benelit of 
all the world. The generous disposition and uncommon piety 
of his IMajesty, tlie King, are justly to be admired, as he is 
pleased to favour this holy purpose of holding such a Council, 
and offers a place for its session in his kingdoju. I A\ibli it 
might be effected, that learned and stable men, from the prin- 
cipal Churches, might assemble iu some place, and, after dis- 
cussing with care each article of fiiith, deliver to posterity, 
from their general opinion of them all, the doctrines of 
the scriptures. It in to be numbered among the evils of our 
day, that the Churches are so divided one froni another, that 
there is scarcely any friendly intercourse slrengtlu ned bctwccii 
ViS 5 much less does that holy communion of tJic member.: ui 


^m LIFE OF CALVIN. letters, 

Christ flourish, which all profess with the mouth, but few 
sincerely regard in the heart. But if the principal teachers 
conduct themselves more coldly than they ought, it is princi- 
pally the fault of the Princes who, involved in their secular 
concerns, neglect the prosperity and purity of the Church ; or 
each one, contented with his own security, is indifferent to the 
welfare of others. Thus it comes to pass, that the members 
being divided, the body of the Church lies disabled. 

Respecting myself, if it should appear that I could render 
any service, I should with pleasure cross ten seas, if necessary, 
to accomplish that object. Even if the benefit of the king- 
dom of England only was to be consulted, it would furnish a 
reason sufficiently powerful with me. But as in the Council 
proposed, the object is to obtain the firm and united agree- 
ment of learned men to the sound rule of scripture, by which 
Churches now divided may be united with each other, I 
think it would be a crime in me to spare any labour or trou- 
ble to effect it. But I expect my slender ability to accom- 
plish this will furnish me with sufficient excuse. If I aid 
that object by my prayers, which will be undertaken by oth- 
ers, I shall discharge my part of the business. Melancthon 
is so far from me, that our letters cannot be exchanged in a 
short time. Bullinger has perhaps answered you before this. 
I wish my ability was equal to the ardency of my desires. 
But what I at first declined, as unable to accomplish, I per- 
ceive the very uecessity of the business now compels me to at- 
tempt. I not only exhort you, but I conjure you, to proceed, 
until something shall be effected, if not every thing you could 
wish. Farewell, most accomplished Prelate, sincerely re- 
spected by me. May the Lord go on to guide you by hie 
Spirit, and bless your holy labours. ^Gekeva, 



Calvin to Cranmer, Archbisliop of Canterbury, Salutem elicit 

Since we can by no means expect at this time, what ^\ c so 
much desired, that the principal Do9lors, from those Church- 
es which have embraced the pure doctrines of the Gospel, 
should assemble, and from the word of God publish a definite 
and luminous Confession concerning all the points now con- 
troverted ; I very much approve, Reverend Sir, gf your de- 
sign, that the English should maturely determine their reli- 
gion among themselves ; that the minds of the people maj' 
no longer remain in suspense about unsettled doctrines, or 
rites less determined than they ought to be. It is especially 
yoiu business, and that of all those who have the government 
in their hands, to unite your exertions to effect this object. 
You see what your station requires, and more imperiously 
demands of you, in return for the office which you hold by 
his favour. The chief authority is in your hand, confirmed 
both by the greatness of the honour, and the long established 
opinion concerning your prudence and integrity. The eyes 
of the better part are turned upon you, that they may follow 
your motions, or grow torpid under the pretext of your neg- 
ligence. I wish they had followed you as a leader more than 
three years since, and avoided the present numerous contests 
for removing gross superstitions. I confess indeed, that .• inre 
the time the Gospel has seriously flourished in England, the 
acquisitions have been great. But if you consider how much 
remains to be done, and how much delay there has been in 
many things, you will hasten to the goal, as if a great i)art of 
your course was yet to be finished. I do not give you this 
admonition to assiduity in the work, lest you shouKl itiduige 
yourself as though it mhs arronij)lished ; but to speak freely, 

36i LIFE OF CALVIN. letters.. 

I greatly fear, and this fear is constantly recurring to my 
mind, that so many autumns will be past in delaying, that 
the cold of a perpetual winter will succeed. The more you 
advance in years, the more vigorously you ought to excite 
yourself to action ; lest kaving the world in this confused state 
of things, great anxiety should distress you from a conscious- 
ness of negligence. I call it a confused state of things ; for 
the external superstitions have been so imperfectly corrected, 
that the innumerable remaining suckers unremittingly germi- 
nate. Indeed I hear that of the corruptions of Popery such 
a mass remains, as not only Xd obscure, but almost destroy the 
pure and genuine worsliip of God. At the same time, the 
spirit of all ecclesiastical discipline is breathless, at Iccist the 
preaching of the Gospel does not flourish as it ought. Sound 
religion certainly will never prevail, until the Churches are 
better provided with qualified Pastors, who may seriously 
discharge the office of Teachers. That this may not take 
place, Satan opposes his secret arts. But I understand that 
one manifest obstacle is, that the revenues of the Church are 
exposed for pillage. This is truly an intolerable evil. Be- 
sides this waste, which is too gross, another evil, not much 
iig'htcr, is that idle fellows are fed upon the publick income 
of the Church, that they may chant their vespers in an un- 
known tongue. I say nothing more, as it is more than ab- 
surd, that you should be an approver of these reproaches 
which are in open oppoeition to the legitimate order of the 
Church. I doubt not but these things often occur to your 
iijind, and are suggested to you by that best and most ex- 
cellent man, Peter Martyr, whose advice it gives me pleasure 
to hear that you use. The many arduous difficulties, with 
which you have to struggle, appeared to me a sufficient rea- 
son for my exhortation. Farewell, excellent Prelate. May 
the Lord Ipng preserve you safe ; enrich you nwre and more 
with the spirit of prudence and fortitude, and bless all your 
?abourg. Amen. 



Hooper to Calvin, Salutation. 

I doubt not, most excellent man, that you have heard by 
the letters of your friends, the affairs in England, and the 
state of the kingdom ; also tl\at our m.ost pious King has 
paid the debt of nature, I make no doubt, on account of 
our sins. His death was followed by a most miserable throng 
of calamities. Altars are every where erected in the king- 
dom ; private masses are held in estimation in most places ; all 
the service hi the Churches is performed in Latin. Pious 
men fear for themselves. The I^xinisters of the Churches, 
and all who have freely taught Christ, expect death. We 
ask the prayers of your Church, and of all pious people, that 
we may seek the glory of Christ with cheerful and unbroken 
courage, and suffer that most glorious death for his name. 

Tu(z pietatis studiosissimus, most desirous of your piety. 
JOHN HOOPER, Bishop of Worcester. 

London, from the prison, September 3, 1553» 


Melancthon to Calvin, wishes health. 

Reverend and beloved brother, I should v. rite to you oftcQ, 
if I had any trusty letter carrier. I would prefer, howevery- 
to have a conversation with you, on many points of the 
greatest moment ; as I hold your judgment in high estima- 
tion, and know the integrity of your mind, and your most 
perfect candour. I now live (UTve^ 'om « o-^vfcixi^, — like an 
ass among wasps. But perhaps I shall sliortly be called, 
from this mortal life, to the more perfect joci^.ty of heaven. 

366 LIFE OF CALVIN. lett£»s. 

I hear that Francis Dryander has passed the summer with 
3^011. If I live, I must expect another banishment. And if 
I am forced to leave Wittemberg, I am determined to have 
a conference with you. The study of theology has become 
indifferent in these parts. The pursuits of science are now 
impeded by the plague and the Avars. I often sigh and 
deplore the causes of this madness in our Rulers. I also be- 
seech the Son of God, to mitigate and remove the causes of 
these calamities. If you Avish to Avrite to me more frequent- 
ly, you will have opportunities of forwarding your letters to 
Francis Dryander. On the leaf enclosed, I have written the 
concise history of this autumn. Farewell. October 1, 1552. 


I am now answering that Gorgon of an Osiander. Three 
Turkish Bashaws have entered Pannonia, Hungary, with two 
armies. They have recently occupied some toAvns of distinc* 
tion, and cut to pieces the army of King Ferdinand. Mau- 
rice, Duke of Saxony, is noAv gone to Austria to lead an army 
against the Turks, At this time, Albert., Blarquis of Bran* 
denberg, is laying waste the neighbourhood of Nuremberg, 
having distressed Frankfort, and pillaged the towns in the 
Bislioprick of Blent z and Treves. The army of the King of 
France are advancing to Liege. The Emperom* Charles 
has collected his forces at Spires, in order to overthrow the 
Marquis and the King of the Gauls. In Saxony, the son of 
Albert, Count of Mansfield, has collected an army near Bre- 
men, and is approaching the places in our neighbourhood, 
that he may recover his dominions, and disturb the wIioIq 
country. Thus througliout Germany there is nothing but 
devastation. Tlie Churches are in grief and mourning ; the 
pursuits of literature languish ; the strength of those who are 
!5cditiou<:jy exclaiming about liberty is encreasing. I con|^ra- 


tulate you for your tranquillity, and pray God tlilt he would 
be gracious towards us, and remove our calamities. 



Calvin to Melancthon. 

Nothing could be more agreeable to me at this time than 
the reception of your letter of the month before last. To my 
great labours, which sufficiently perplex me, there is scarce a 
day which does not add some fresh cause for grief or anxiety. 
I should soon faint under the load of evils, with which I am 
oppressed, if the Lord was not pleased to alleviate their 
severity by his remedies ; among which this is not a smaU 
one, in my estimation, that I know you are in usual health, 
as much so as your age and dehcate constitution will admit ; 
jajid that your letter has convinced me, that your love for 
me is not at all diminished. I have been told, that you 
were so much offended at some of my too free admonitions, 
which however ought to have produced a very different 
effect, that you tore my letter to pieces before several Avit- 
nesses. The person who related this was not indeed worthy 
of much credit ; but as it appeared to be confirmed by va- 
rious signs for a long time, I w as at length constrained to 
suspect that some part of it might be true. From your 
letter I have now learned most fully, that our union still 
remains unimpaired ; which certainly ought to be forever 
sacred and inviolable, as its origin was from a similar affec- 
tion for piety. It is our highest interest, that the friend- 
ship which God has consecrated, by tlic tokens of his autho- 
rity, should be cherished with confidence and constancy 
even until death ; as in this friendship the Clmrch is deeply 
concerned. You s«e how many eyes arc turneil upon us. 

308 LIFE OF CALVIN, i.etxbbs. 

The wicked will captiously seize from our differences a 
handle for llieir reproaches ; and the weak among us will be 
disturbed even by our most trivial opposition. It is of conse- 
quence also, that posterity should have no grounds to sus- 
pect that there was any incipient discord between us. It 
would be extremely absurd, after having been compelled to 
separate from all the world, tliat we should, at the very 
threshhold, break away from each other. I know and freely 
confess, that I am far from being equal to you ; still I am 
not ignorant of the elevation to which God has raised me 
among his [>eopIe ; and there is no reason that I should dis- 
semble with you my opinion, that our friendship cannot be 
violated without a great injury to the Church. Even if \ve 
had no other reason, estimate from your own sensibility, how 
distressing it would be to me, to be cut off from the man, 
whom I affectionately love and revere ; and whom God has 
rendered conspicuous to his whole Church, by magnificently 
adorning him with singular gifts, and appointing him prime 
Minister for the management of the chief concerns of hig 
kingdom. It is certainly a wonderful and uncommon 
stupidity, that ^ve should despise so easily that sacred union 
between us, which would become the celestial Angels to bear 
to each other on earth. In the mean time, the adversary con- 
tinues to prepare on every hand the causes of discord. From 
our negligence, he takes occasion to accumulate his materials ; 
jyid will soon provide his instruments for enkindling and 
fanning the fires. 

I will relate what has taken place in this Church, to the 
great grief of all the pious. A year has already elapsed 
since we have been troubled with these contests. Some un- 
principled men raised a controversy with us concerning the 
gratuitous election of God, and the miserable servitude of thr 
human will ; and for exciting a publick tumult, they found 
nothing more plausible, in their opposition to us, than the 


pretext of your name. When they had ascertained, that we 
were promptly prepared to refute whatever specious devices 
they threw out, they invented this artifice, by which they ex- 
pected to overpower us, unless we would publickly separate 
from you. But we observed such moderation, that they 
wholly failed in extorting from us what they had so artfully 
pursued. My colleagues then with me declared, that we ad- 
hered to the same scope in doctrines, as that by which you 
were guided. Not a word was dropped in tlie whole dis- 
pute, but what was justly respectful, and tended to establish 
confidence in you. It was, however, the fact, that I was so 
verely pained with the silent thought, that after our death, 
corrupt men will be furnished with occasion of troubling the 
Church, as often as they please, while they bring into contro- 
versy the opposite opinions of those, who should, for the sake 
of example, have professed one and the same thing, in the 
same words. 

That Osiander has withdrawn himself from us, or rather, 
by a violent assault, made his escape, is neither a matter of 
surprise nor much regret. You long since experienced, that 
he was one of those wild animals which can never be tamed. 
From the day I first saw him, I always considered him a^ 
disgraceful to the cause ; and I detested him as a man oi 
profane disposition ard corrupt morals. Whenever he wish*- 
cd to praise sweet and generous wine, he had these words in 
his mouth — " I am who I am" — or — " This is the Son of the 
living God" — which betrayed a manifest mockery of God. 
Hence I have often been more astonished, that even your gen- 
eral moderation should cherish such a brutal man : efipccially 
I was so when I read in a preface of yours that passage 
where you praise him extravagantly, even after the specimen 
he gave us of liis insanity at Worm?- But let him go ; he 


3ro LIFE OF CALVIN. i^etters. 

ought to be most perfectly cut off from us.# There are some 
otiiers whom I should prefer to have retained. But I will 
omit all these things. It is no small grief to me, that our 
method of teaching is manifestly observed to be too discord- 
ant. I am not ignorant, that if we yield to human authori- 
ty, it would be more reasonable for me to accede to you, than 
for you to conform to my opinion. But we are not to be 
guided by human authority ; nor is this even to be wished 
from the pious Ministers of CJirist. We are bound, on all 
hands, to seek conformity to the pure truth of God. Now I 
candidly confess, that religion prevents me from acceding to 
you on this point of doctrine ; as you appear to me to dispute 
too metaphysically concerning the freedom of the will : and 
in treating of election, you have no object, but to accommo- 
date yourself to the common apprehension of mankind. For 
it canliot be attributed to an oversight, that a man of your 
acuteness, caution and thorough knowledge of the scriptures, 
should confound the election of God, with those promises 
which are common to all — qim sunt imiversce. Nothing is 
more evident, than that the preaching of the word is promis- 
cuously common to all persons ; but that the Spirit of Faith 
is given by special privilege to the elect alone. The promises 
are common to all without exception. How then does it come 
to pass, that their efficacy does not equally manifest itself in 
all ? Truly, because God does not reveal his arm to all. 
Nor does this point require proof with those who are tolera- 
bly versed in the scriptures, since the promises offer the grace 

* Moshelm states, that arrogance and singularity were the principal lines 
ih Osiander^s character. Melancthon, in his letter to Calvin, calls him 
a Gorgon, who had dangling vipers for hair, and petrified others by 
his aspect. He treated Melanctlion with the grossest language of sa- 
tire and illiberality. Melancthon's letter to Calvin is dated Oct. 1, 1552. 
Osiander died Oct. 17 y but Calvin had not heard of his death when hr 
wrote the above letter in November. 


of Christ equally to all, and God invites, by an outward call, 
whosoever will, to salvation ; yet faith is a special gift. Jt 
appears to me that this \\hole question, althoui^h eniljarrass- 
ed and intricate, is clearly explained in a work I have lately 
published. # The question is so plain, that no one of sound 
understanding will believe, that your disagreement is from 
the conviction of your own mind. At the same lime, it 
increases my anxiety and sorrow, because I know that on 
this point you ahiiost entirely differ from yourself. I'or I 
hear, when you received the formula of our union w ith the 
Chui'ch of Zurich, taking a pen you erased the sentence, 
which cautiously and soberly distinguishes the elect from the 
reprobate. This ^\ as totally dilTerent from your usual mode, 
ration, not to say more. I do not therefore ask you to make 
even the attempt to read my treatise, as I apprehend it would 
be useless. I wish we might have an interview to converse 
on these things. I know your candour, frankness and mode- 
ration ; and your piety is manifested to the world and to An- 
gels. I trust therefore, that this whole matter would be easi- 
ly explained between us. If an opportunity should offer, I 
should be highly gratified in visiting you. But if what yon 
fear should happen,f it will be a great consolation to me, in 
this wretched and mournful state of affairs, to sec and cm- 
brace you before our departure from this world. 

We are far from enjoying that tranquillity w hich you sup- 
pose. In this city, there are many labours, difficulties and 
tumults. Our enemies are in sight, from whom new dangers 
threaten us. We are only five hours journey from Bmgnri- 
dy. One may come in less than an hour from the French do- 
minions to the gates of Geneva. But as nothing is more hap- 

• Calvin's Treatise, concerning the eternal election of Cod wus pub- 
li3hed in 1551. See Tract. Thcol. Cal. p. 593. 

t Calvin here alludes to an appr^iension \^luch Melancllon liud of Ijeing 
driven into exil'» 

oi2 LIFE OF CALVIN. letters. 

py than to fight under the standard of Christ, these difficulties 
must not deter you from visiting us. In the mean time, you 
will do me a favour, by informing me of your situation and 
the general condition of your Church. Farewell, illustrious 
man, and sincerely respected brother. May the Lord pro- 
tect you with his shield, direct you with his Spirit, and bless 
your holy labours. My colleagues and many pious and dis* 
qreet men respectfully salute you. 


Geneva, November 29, 1552. 


Calvin to Sir John Cheke. 

I have hitherto deferred writing U you, most excellent 
Sir, lest I should appear to seek something for which I had 
no inclination. Most of the friendships of the world are 
specious, and influenced by ambition and vanity. Few che- 
rish sincerity ; and few deserve our confidence, whose probi- 
ty has not been tried. I have already often ventured to 
write to the King, to whom I have, with other servants of 
Christ, found access, by your care, under Providence. For 
having hitherto omitted to write to you, I have a ready ex- 
cuse. I apprehended that those, at whose request I wrote 
to him, would imagine that I had not sufficient confidence 
in them, if I entrusted the delivery of my letters to others ; 
besides, there was no such familiarity between us, as would 
warrant me in giving you that trouble. If I have erred in 
this, you will be pleased to impute it to my modesty, rather 
than my negligence. I have long since been induced to es- 
teem you highly, from the fame of your eminent piety and 
distinguished learning. This one circumstance is sufficient id 
conciliate to you the minds of all good men, that while Eng- 


land has a King of the most amiable disposilion, you have, 
by your labour, formed him to such a maturity of virtue, 
beyond his age, that lie has extended liis hand to tlie trou- 
bled and most afflicted Church, in these unhappy timcF. 
Surely the Lord, in dignifying you witli this honour, has not 
only bound those to you who reap the immediate fruit of 
your labours, but all those who desire the Ciuirch of God to 
be restored, or the remnants of it to be collected. In testi- 
fying the esteem for you, which I have silently cherished 
with myself, I am persuaded that I shall not render you an 
unpleasant service. In the splendour of your fortune, you 
have no occasion for my personal assistance ; and, being con- 
tented with my humble condition, I would not, for my own 
sake, lay any additional burden upon you ; but I Avould 
have a mutual good will cherished between us ia this tran- 
sitory life, until we shall enjoy substantial blessedness in 
Heaven. In the mean time, let us lal^our to adorn, and, as 
much as in us lies, to ^tend and support the kingdom of 
Christ. We see the numerous, open and Infectious enemies, 
whose fury is daily increased and inflamed. And of the 
number of those, who have given their names to the Gos- 
pel, how few labour with integrity to maintain the glory of 
God ? How much coldness, or rather how much slothful- 
ness, prevails among most of the chief men ; and finally, how 
great is the stupidity of the world ? Your willing exertions 
require no foreign excitements, and I trust you will take in 
good part those things I have suggested, as proper for each 
one assiduously to apply to himself. But this I expressly 
ask of you. That if at any time you shall judge, that his Ma- 
jesty the King may be excited by my expostulations, you 
will be pleased to advise and give counsel as the case may 
require. Farewell, most excellent and highly respected man. 
May the Lord guide you by his power, ^c, 
Geneva, February 1-3, 1-553. 

374i LIFE OF CALVIN. letters. 


Melancthon to Calvin. 

Reverend and dear brother, I have read your book, in 
which you have clearly refuted the horrid blasphemies of 
Servetus ; and I give thanks to the Son of God, who was 
the ^§ec[ievTi}iy the awarder of your crown of victory^ in this 
your combat. To you also the Church owes gratitude at 
the present moment, and will owe it to the latest posterityc 
I perfectly assent to your opinion. I affirm also, that your 
Magistrates did right in punishing, after a regular trial, this 
blasphemous man. You advised me, in your last letter, to 
repress the ignorant clamours of those, who are reviving the 
controversy 'xs^t etorcXecr^eteti, about the worship of the bread ; 
but I must inform you, that this dispute is kept up by some 
individuals, out of mere hatred to me, that they may have 
a plausible ground for oppressing me. I have conversed 
much, with learned and good men, on the many disputes 
which this one controversy embraces, concerning the proper- 
ties of the Divine Persons, of the manifestation of God by 
the Word and the Spirit, in true conversion or consolation. 
About these things, which are of so great importance, I am 
very desirous to confer with you, whom I know to be a lov- 
er of truth, and to have a mind free from hatred and oth- 
er unreasonable passions. From the light of the Father, says 
Nazianzen, ive receive the light, the Son, by the light, the 

Holy Ghost* Etc (pearoq rev Uocr^oq, ^ae, xetruXuftficcvof^sv rov tioy, tv 

iparri rca m^vf^uri Ayico. Although there arc but few sayings of 
this writer, concerning that knowledge of God which shines 
forth in true consolation, yet I am delighted with this 
saying, which I insert in this letter, because I believed it 
•would be also agreeable to you. But this is nothing to the 


purpose about the ivorship of the bread. I do not despair 
of having a conversation with you on this subject, before my 
soul departs from this mortal prison. For ahhough, on ac- 
count of my age, I am not far distant from the end of my 
course, yet I am daily expecting to be again sent into ex- 
ile. But I pray our Lord Jesus Christ, who was crucified 
for us, and rose again the keeper of his Church, to govern 
and direct you and all of us. FarewelJ, my dearest bro- 

October 14, lo5i. 


Calvin to Melancthon, salutem dicit. 

Your letter, my dear sir, gave me great satisfaction, not 
only because every thing that comes from you is dear to me, 
but because from it I understand, that the affection witli 
which you embraced me, at our first acquaintance, still re- 
mains fixed in your heart. And especially, as you commend, 
with a sufficient eulogy, my endeavours to expunge the im- 
pious heresy of Servetus. From this letter I learn also, that 
you were not offended by the plainness and freedom of my 
admonitions. I wish, however, that you had treated more 
fully on the subject on which I wrote. I will not impor- 
tunately urge you ; but as far as you can with peace, I ex- 
hort j^ou, again and again, to examine, at least with your- 
self, those things about which I wrote you. For, in this 
way, I trust you will endeavour, that sonic more definite 
form of teaching, concernijig the gratuitous election of be- 
lievers, than heretofore, may be agreed upon between us. 
About the worship of the breads I have long since known the se- 
cret opinion of your mind, which you do not dissemble in your 
Tetter. But your too great tardiness displeases mc, by which 

Sre LIFE OF CALVIN. iBixEiis. 

you uot only cherish but augment the madness of those, 
whom you see pursuing daily, with such petulance, the de- 
struction of the whole Church. It may not seem easy to 
you to restrain those violent men, yet I think it would be 
a light matter, if you would boldly attempt it. You know 
that our duties do not depend upon the hope of success, but 
in the most desperate cases we must do precisely what God 
requires of us. Your excuse does not appear a sufficient one 
to me, that those malevolent men would,' from your appear- 
ing openly in the cause, take the probable means of over- 
whelming you. For what can the servants of Christ accom-= 
plish, unless they disregard hatred ; pass by with indiffer- 
ence unfavourable reports, casting oif the fear of dangers, 
and whatever obstacles the adversary may throw in their 
path ; and overcome by invincible constancy ? It is certain, 
should they even become violently mad against you, nothing 
awaits you more severe from them, than that you should be 
compelled to leave that place. This, in my opinion, you 
ought, for many reasons, to wish for. But as extremities of 
every kind are to be feared, it is your duty to resolve at 
once, what you owe to Christ ; lest in suppressing an ingenu- 
ous profession of the truth, you afford unprincipled men, by 
your silence, a patronage for its destruction. In order to 
restrain their violence, I have again summed up, in a short 
compendium, the chief points of doctrine. All the Helve- 
tick Churches have subscribed it. The Church of Zurich 
approved of it most decidedly. I now anxiously expect your 
opinion ; and I wish very much to know what the Divines 
of Germany may think or say of it. But if those who 
traduce us with such hostility do not desist from their dis- 
orderly conduct, we will endeavour to make the world hear 
our complaints. Farewell, most excellent man, always re- 
spected by me above others. May the Lord govern you 
with his Spirit^ protect you with his hand, and sustain yoti 


with strength ; and may he hold us in a holy union until he 
brings us together in his heavenly kingdom. 
March 5, 1555. 


Melancthon to Bullincer, S. D. 

Rev. and dear brother, When the copies of your Avork oji 
justification^ ^e^t hfuctoTum, arrived here, I immediately bought 
and read it. I am very much pleased with the agreement 
of your and our Churches in opinion. Afterwards I received 
the letter and volume, you sent me. I give you thanks for 
your good will towards me, and for your present. 

I have also read your answer to the blasphemies of Serve- 
tus ; and I approve of your piety and opinions. I judge al- 
so, that the Genevese Senate did perfectly right, to put an 
end to this obstinate man^ who could never cease blasphem- 
ing. And I wonder at those who disapprove of this severity. 
I send you a few pages on that question, suflicient, however, 
to manifest our opinion. 

Some of my old friends threaten me, that they will write 
against me, v7re§ «f toA«t^£<«5, about the tvorship of the bread. If 
they publish any thing against me personally, I have deter- 
mined, with the assistance of God, to answer them, altliougli 
I would much prefer to omit this controversy. It would be 
niuch more beneficial for the pious and learned to confer 
peaceably on this great subject. I pray the Son of God, 
that he would govern us all, and heal the wounds of his 
Church. May you hve well and happily, beloveil brother. 
I wish health to you all. 

August 20. 


378 LIFE OF CALVIN. betters, 


Calvin to Martyr, saliitem dicit. 

What I promised to write, concerning the secret commu^ 
nication which we have with Christ, I shall not perform so 
fully as you expected. Although the subject is of great im- 
portance, yet I think it may be sufficiently defined between 
you and myself in a few words. Of that communication 
which the Son of God hath with our nature, by assuming our 
flesh that he might become our brother, I shall say nothing. 
But I shall treat of that which emanates from his divine 
power, and communicates life to us, so that we are made to 
grow together into one body ivith him. At the same time 
that we receive Christ by Faith, as he ofiers himself in the 
Gospel, we are made truly members of him, and life flows 
unto us from him as a capite, from the head. In no, other 
way does he reconcile us to God, by the sacrifice of his deathj 
but as he is ours, and we are one with him. So I interpret 
the passage of Paul, where he says,- the faithful are called in« 
to his Kmmm^i, fellowship. 1 Cor, i. 9. Nor does the word 
fellowship, or partnership, appear to me suflSciently to express 
liis mind. He would designate that sacred oneness by which 
the Son of God would engraft us into his body, that he might 
make us partakers of his fulness. We so draw life from his 
flesh and blood, that we may, with propriety, call them our 
food. How that is done, I confess, is very far above the com- 
prehension of my understanding. I rather humbly admire, 
than labour to comprehend this mystery. But this I confess, 
that by the divine power of the Spirit, life is poured from 
heaven upon the earth. For the flesh of Christ does not give 
life of itself, nor would its efficacy reach us, but by the incom- 
prehensible operation of the Spirit, It is the work of tlie 


Spirit, that Christ dwells in us, supports and nourishes us, and 
performs all the functions of a head. I preclude in this way 
all approach to the gross inventions a])out the intermixture of 
substances. It is sufficient for me, that while the body of 
Christ remains in celestial glory, life fiows from him to us, as 
the root transmits the nourishment to the branches. JVIany 
of the ancient fathers, especially Hilary and Cyril, I perceive, 
were carried away much too far. I do not so exactly follow 
their hyperboles, but that I will always ingenuously oppose 
myself to their authority, when it is made to patronize errour. 
While they contend that Christ is co?isubsta?itiaI, oi^oovo-m, 
xvith the Father, because it is written, land the Father are one ; 
the Arians retort, what is presently added, that they also may 
be one in us. Thus are they taken in their own ignorance, 
and they have recourse to this miserable subterfuge, that ^\'c 
are of the same essence with Christ. This being confessed, 
they were of necessity involved in many other absurdities. 
But that these new fabricators may not produce against us 
the authority of the fathers, it will be sufficient for me to say 
that I do not subscribe to them, that I may not willingly 
draw them into the controversy. 

I now come to the second communication, ^^ hich I considei: 
as the eifect and fruit of the former. For after Christ, by 
the internal operation of the Spirit, has subdued and united 
us to himself in his body, he continues to us a second opera- 
tion of the Spirit, by which he enriches us with his gifts. If, 
therefore, we are strong in hope and patience, if we soberly 
and temperately abstain from the enticements of this ^^ orld, 
if we earnestly endeavour to conquer the lusts of the flegh, if 
our zeal for righteousness and piety strengthens, if we are 
delighted and elevated with the meditation of a future life ; 
this, I say, proceeds from that second communication, by 
which Christ, who does not idly dwell in us, proves the effica- 
cy of his Spirit in manifest gifts. Nor is it absurd that Chri4, 

^^^ LIFE OF CALVIN. . xetteks. 

when wc are united to his body, should communicate to us 
his Spirit, by whose secret operation he was first made ours ; 
since the scripture often attributes both these effects to his 
agency. But although th€ faithful come to this communion 
at the very time of their vocation ; yet inasmuch as the hfe of 
Christ increases in them, he daily offers himself to be enjoyed 
by them. This is the communication which they receive in 
the Lord's Supper. I should explain this more fully to any 
one, whom I wished to instruct ; but to you I have summed 
it up briefly, merely that you might see that we are of the 

same opinion Farewell, most distinguished 

man, always respected by me in the Lord. Salute Sturmius, 
Zanchus and other friends affectionately. May the Lord al- 
w-ays guard you, guide you by his Spmt, and follow you with 
his blessing. 

Geneva, August 8, 1555. 


Melancthok to the Rev. John Calvin, his dear brother, 
distinguished for erudition and vktue, salutem dicit. 

Rev. man and beloved brother, I know that your superior 
prudence will enable you to judge, from the writings of your 
adversaries, what their disposition is, and for what purpose 
they are watching for publick observation. I shall therefore 
say nothing of them. I only pray the Son of God, that he 
would heal the wounds ofhis Church, as the Samaritan heal- 
ed the wounded traveller. I now learn, that that proud and 
boasting man, on the banks of the Daiiube, is forging a large 
volume, as a fortress against me, which if he publishes, I 
have determined to answer with sincerity, and without am- 
biguity, I judge that I owe this labour to God and Xhf^ 


Church. Nor do I, at this advanced age, greatly fear either 
exile or other dangers. I wish you health and happiness. 

May 12. 


Calvin to Melancthon. 

Most distinguished man — You indeed observe, \^ith cor- 
rectness and sagacity, that the only object of our adver saries 
is to exhibit themselves to the publick. But, however, I hope, 
and it is credible, that their expectation will be greatly dis- 
appointed. Should they still bear oil the applause of the 
whole world, we must be more anxiously diligent to seek the 
approbation of our heavenly Judge, under whose eyes we 
contend. What ? Will the holy assembly of Angels, who 
excite us by their presence, and point out the way of stre- 
nuous exertion by their example, permit us to be slothful, or 
move with a delaying step ? What the whole company of 
holy fathers? Will they not stimulate us to exertion? 
What, moreover, the Church of God, now in the world ? 
When we know that she is fighting for us by her prayers, 
and is animated by our example, will her assistance avail 
nothing with us? Let these be my spectators, I will be con- 
tented with their approbation. Though the whole world 
should liiss me, my courage shall not fail. Far be it from 
me to envy these flashy and boisterous men the glory of a 
laurel, in some obscure corner, for a short time. I am not 
ignorant of what the world applaud as praise-worthy, or con- 
demn as odious. But it is the whole of my concern, to fol- 
low the rule prescribed by my Master. Nor do I doubt but 
that this ingenuousness will, on the whole, be more pleasir.g 
to the pious and faithful, than that soft and complying me- 

332 LIFE OF CALVIN. i-etters, 

tliod of instruction, which argues an empty mind. The ob- 
ligation which you acknowledge yourself under to God and 
}iis Church, I beseech you to discharge with all diligence. 
I do not insist upon this, for the purpose of freeing myself, 
and loading you with a great part of their hatred. By no 
means. I would rather, if it could be, from my love and 
respect for you, receive on my own shoulders whatever load 
may already oppress you. It is your duty to consider, al- 
though I did not admonish you, that you will with diffi- 
culty discharge that oljligation, unless you promptly deliver 
from hesitation those pious men, who are looldng up to you 
for instruction. Moreover, if that proud and blustering 
man, on the banks of the Danube, does not arouse you to 
exertion, all will justly accuse you of sloth and indifference. 
Farewell, most excellent and sincerely respected man. May 
Christ, the faithful Shepherd of his people, be always pre- 
sent, guide and defend you. Amen. Salute Caiiierariu^, 
and other friends at AVittemberg, in my name, 
Genjeva, August 22, 1555. 


Calvin to Buj^lingek, S. P. 

It is known that unfavourable rumours are industriously 
propagated about us, by the artifice of those, who ^\ish to 
screen themselves by rendering us every where odious. On 
this account, you will render us a favour, if you will take 
care, that an abridgement of what I now write be stated to 
your most illustrious Senate. And also, if it will not be too 
much trouble, I wish that you would send this part of my 
letter to our brethren, the Ministers of the Church of Schafi- 
hausen, that they may, among their people, exculpate this 


city from unfounded calumnies. Tlie whole afiair stands 
thus : — 

In the Senate were two men, wicked and audacious to the 
highest pitch of impudence. They were l)oth of them poor 
and hungry. One is called Perrin, the other Vandcllius. 
The former, being Captain- General of the city, had, by pro- 
posing impunity to all crimes, conciliated to himself the ve- 
ry refuse of the wicked. When any crimes were commit- 
ied by the obstinate, the lewd and the dissolute, he immedi- 
ately patronized them, that the penalty of the laws should 
not be enforced. The other was his faithful coadjutor in all 
these things. They bound to their purpose a part of the 
Senate by their flatteries. They affrightened into submission 
to them some sordid creatures, who could not hold their of- 
fice but by their favour. Their family connections espous- 
ed their cause, merely on account of their relationship. In 
this manner, their power in the upper Senate had grown so 
strong, that scarce any dared to resist their inclinations. In 
fact, for several years, the legal decisions have been entire- 
ly in their power ; and their scandalous breaches of justice 
have been abundantly manifest. The city not only sa\r this, 
but, by their means, we were evilly reported among our 
neighbours, and among foreigners. Very many openly op- 
posed them, as they were often vexed and torn to pieces ]>y 
their atrocious improbities. If any one, howevei*, who de- 
spised their power, exposed their crimes, they were prompt 
to take their revenge. They readily passed over whatever 
was said by their equals. By the continuance of these thing.?, 
many contracted habits of servitude to their measures. All 
the edicts lay dead upon the records. No one who was 
favoured by these men had any thing to fear from the lavv^, 
or from shame. The Judges and tlie Prefect of tlie city were 
annually chosen entirely by their will. Their outrage- wai, 
howcTer, at length carried to such au excess, that the peop? 


^S4 LIFE OF CALVIN. ^e.^ek.^. 

themselves, after having elected, by their suffrages, I know not 
what refuse, the very basest dregs, became alarmed at their 
own disgrace. This was confessed by all on the last year, 
that if the election had been given up to the enemies of the 
city, they could not have called into office, from the mob 
itself, men more disgraceful. But now, as formerly, if the 
upper Senate transgress their will, the Council of two hun-^ 
dred are in the habit of bringing relief to their crimes and 
corruptions. For these men contrived to throw into this bo- 
dy many of the lowest characters ; some of whom were tur- 
bulent and blustering young men, and others were base and 
dissolute in their manners. And lest their power should fail 
them, disregarding the order of the number, they forcibly in- 
troduced into the multitude, all those persons whom they 
supposed to be devoted to their interest. This licentiousness 
at length became so extensive, that certain persons obtruded 
themselves into the Senate, without any election by that body. 
This was the faction who, seeing the judicatory of the Church 
opposed to them, and their unbridled impunity in all crimes 
exposed, excited a contest with us concerning excommunica^ 
tion, that they might destroy the last remains of discipline. 
They desisted not from turning every thing upside down, 
till with great difficulty we obtained, that at least advice 
should be asked of the Helvetick Churches. But as your an- 
swer destroyed the hopes and purposes of the wicked, our con- 
dition was, from that circumstance, a little more quiet. Still, 
liowever, they were watching for new opportunities, and hav' 
mg dismissed all shame, they attempted to break down all 
restraints. But, as it was troublesome to us to be in continual 
agitation, we ventured to importune them to determine some- 
thing that might be depended upon as an established order 
of things. In this thing the Lord wonderfully frustrated 
their purposes. For in the promiscuous suffrages of the mul- 
titude, we had the majority. Soon after this, the assembly 


was held for the election of Syndicks, at which a most unex- 
pected change of publick opinion appeared. At tijis time, 
the wicked became openly outrageous, for they saw them- 
selves once more reduced to order. They now rashly under- 
took and attempted many things, to destroy the government. 
We were satisfied barely to restrain or defeat their exertion?, 
without tumult. But as it was no secret, that they were anx- 
ious, beyond measure, for a revolution, the Senate determin- 
ed to oppose the best defence against their licentious rage. 
Of the French, who had resided here for a long time, w hose 
probity was well known, a number, perhaps about fifty, ^vere 
admitted to the right of citizenship. The faction perceived 
how much stronger this addition would render the hands of 
the good. They determined, therefore, to leave no stone un- 
turned, to defeat this counsel. The business was discussed 
among themselves in the streets, and the wine shops, and also 
in the houses of some individuals. When they had draw n 
over certain persons to their purpose, they began to rise not 
only in complaints, but in open threats. By secret collusion, 
the Prefect of the city was induced, with a large but base 
and shameless train, to enter the Council room, and denounce 
the Senate if they proceeded, A great part of this mob was 
made up of sailors, fishermen, kitchen servants, butchers, va- 
grants, and persons of such like condition ; as if the city could 
not defend its rights without such patriots. The Senate an- 
swered, in a dignihed manner, that they had attempted no 
innovation ; but had proceeded in the order sanctioned l)y 
the most ancient usage of the city ; that it was an insuper- 
able indignity, to endeavour to destroy the ancient customs, 
to force from the order of citizens those who had for a long 
time honourably dwelt among them, and finally, to attempt 
to wrest from the Senate the authority which had, from the 
remotest antiquity, been committed to their hands. But as 
th^ Senate thouglit best to proceed without violence, they 


38G LIFE OF CALVIN. letters. 

oiTered pardon, for this time, to the pubhck conspirators. 
The}^ however severely reproved the Prefect, for using his 
influence in behalf of so abandoned men, in so unjust a 
cause. The Senate, at the same time, decreed to convoke 
the Council of t\ro hundred. When they were assembled, 
the authority of the upper Senate was sanctioned ; and it 
was determined, that they might henceforward admit as ci- 
tizens such of the French residents as they should judge pro- 
per. But before the lower Senate had decreed this last clause, 
the violent fury of these fellows burst forth in such a man- 
ner as to prove, that they were determined to cast themselves 
headlong, into all extremities, as in a desperate case. It was now 
the city ^vas almost brought to a general slaughter, in a noctur- 
nal tumult. The day before that on which it happened, a din- 
ner, free of expense, was given to many of those unprincipled 
men. The leaders, however, feasted in a different place. Van- 
del lius bore the expense of the dinner, and Perrin of the supper. 
Their runners were flying about in all directions. Many unfa- 
vourable omens were observed. The steady inhabitants Avere, 
not without cause, concerned for themselves. It is the custom in 
this city, after the ivatches are stationed at the gates, that the 
captain of the watch goes the round to examine the sentries. 
Each Senator performs this ofllce in his turn. The watch of 
this night being stationed in the centre of the city, they heard 
an outcry at a small distance. In that quarter, behind the 
merchants' shops, some one being struck with a stone, cried 
out that he was killed. The watch ran together instantly to 
discharge tliL i duty. Two brothers encountered them, who 
were of the company of Perrin and Vandellius ; men of the 
lowest class, being butchers, who had supped on free cost at 
the same table. From this circumstance it became evident, 
that this outcry was made by agreement, otherwise two men 
only would not have dared to attack the a\ atch who were 
armed. They both indeed confessed this to be the fact, to 


the Judges, and to many others, and to me also In private. 
But yet, when they were taken to punishment, they ^denied 
that this outcry was made as the signal for a mob. They 
were however convicted, by so many proofs, that their impu- 
dence was of no avail. They did not at all deny, that on the 
same day, between the dinner and supper, they accompanied 
Perrin, of their own accord, to a neighbouring village ; that 
while they were on their way there, mention was made of five 
hundred armed men, who were to be called from some other 
place, to guard the city ; that when the same subject was in 
troduced at the afternoon's repast, Perrin, when the median - 
icks came in, repressed the conversation, commanding silence, 
schrvick, schmcky in German ; and that as this village was 
without the jurisdiction of Geneva, he said that an asylum 
and support wxre there prepared for any who should commit 
any capital crime in the city. 

Upon the apprehension of those two men, (the tumult in- 
creasing) one of tlie Syndicks, who lived near the place, ap- 
peared with lighted torches, and the staff which was the 
badge of his otTiee. The reverence of this people was always 
so great for this sacred staff, that by its appearance tlie great- 
est mobs w^ere dispersed, and when slaughter was threatened, 
the violence v?as restrained by its influence. One of these 
brothers, with a drawn sword, encountered the Syndick. 
The Syndick, relying on the badge of his authority, seized 
him, that he might commit him to prison. J\Tany of the 
factious flew to his assistance. Every light was extinguished 
They declared, that they would not suffer their good com 
panion to be carried to prison. Perrin came at this moment. 
He at first dissembled attempts to pacify them, and seized 
the staff of the Syndick, whispering in his ear, it is mine atid 
not yours. The Syndick, though a man of small stature, 
would not give it up, but struggled boldly, and with all hi*: 
strength. While these things were going on, a rhmour ^'.'as 

388 LIFE OF CALVIN. letters. 

raised in every direction, through all the streets of the city, as 
it would seem, in a moment ; the French are in arms-^the city 
is betrayed by treachery— the house of the Senator, the Prefect 
of the watch is filled with armed men,^li was thus these emis- 
saries tumultuousiy assembled those whom they knew to be 
on their side. Perrin, as soon as he believed his band suffi- 
ciently strong, began to vociferate, the Syndical staff is ours— 
for I hold it. This was not answered by a single testimony 
of applause, although he was surrounded by the conspirators. 
Thus it is evident, that they were restrained by some provi- 
dential influence. Confounded with shame, and equally ter- 
rified, Perrin by degrees recovered himself. But falling up-, 
on another Syndick, a kinsman of his by marriage, he forcibly 
seized his staff. He complained that the rights of the city 
were violated in the attack made upon him, and caUed for 
assistance. As the mob had the superiority in arms, no one 
raised a finger, or moved a step, at the Syndick's complaint. 
But a certain reverence again prevented the vilest from ap- 
plauding this act of Perrin. At length, forced by fear, he 
privately returned the staiT. At this time, many of the con-^ 
spirators were in arms. One voice resounded every where— 
the French must be Mlled^they have betrayed the city. But 
the Lord watched over these unhappy exiles, and so held 
them in sleep that they heard nqne of these horrid outcries; 
or so supported them that they did not fear the threatened 
danger. None of them left their houses. And thus, by the 
interposition of God, the purpose of the wicked was defeated, 
as no one oifered himself to the combat. For they had deter- 
mined, as was afterwards well known, if any attacked them, to 
defend themselves;, that some being slain, they would pro- 
ceed in battle array against others, as if the sedition had been 
raised by us. They not only threatened those who had taken 
up their residence here, but they exclaimed, that their pat- 
rons also should be slain, and that punishment should be m^ 


ilicted upon the Senate. In this affair, you may see the cle- 
mency of our Senate, who, wlien the authors of tliis nefarious 
uproar were apprehended and convicted, not only spared their 
lives, but abstained even from moderate cliastisements, so 
that they were not indeed corrected by w hi])pinq. The Syn- 
dicks, having ordered the Senate to be convoked, ran quickly 
from one part of the city to the other. Tlic w ickcd, however, 
relying upon their multitude, not only to elude and despise 
their authority, but also to abuse them with insults, left very 
small hopes of a remedy. However, by divine interference, 
beyond all our expectations, the violence of the tempest began 
to moderate by degrees. The next day it was decreed, that 
enquiry should be made concerning the publick violence. 
"The Syndicks took up three days in examining the w itnesses. 
That no one should say, he was pressed to a false testimony, 
they assembled the Council of two hundred ; and w hile tlie 
testimonies were recited, the conspirators themselves sat 
among the judges. As it appeared that any one w as concern- 
ed in the crime, or laboured under unfavourable suspicions, 
he was ordered to leave the Senate room, as he could not 
with integrity give his opinion. But Perrin, seeing liis wick- 
edness would be detected, with three others, made his es- 
cape by flight. The lower Senate, justly exasperated at the 
indignity of this outrage upon good order, decreed that the 
crime of this conspiracy ought to be severely punished. They 
exhorted the upper Senate, who have the po^ver of passing 
sentence, strenuously to exact exemplary punishment. The 
fugitives were sunmioned by the principal Sheriff, and then 
by a publick Crier, according to custom ; and this was done 
by the soimd of trumpet for fifteen days. By their letters, 
they declared that they would not apjicar, unless the publick 
faith was pledged for their security. But it Avould have 
been very absurd, to absolve, by a law as privileged persons, 
those criminals who ought to defend their cause \u chains. 

390 LIFE OF CALVIN. xei^ers. 

On the appointed day, five were condemned. But before 
the Judges pronounced sentence, they recited, in a pubhck 
assembly, the crimes of those whom they were obliged to 
hold convicted, since they refused, when summoned, to ap- 
pear and defend their innocence upon trial. Then they pro- 
duced the confession of those, who were punished, and 
who are still in prison. It is very evident, that they are too 
dangerous and too wicked, to be permitted to escape by any 
subterfuge. Yet they are shameless enough to persist in 
spreading opprobrious reports ; that they are oppressed by un- 
just hatred ; that they defended the rights of the city against 
the French ; and that the Senate was devoted to the French, 
As if the Council of two hundred, by whose previous judg- 
ment they were sentenced, were not the people. As if they 
ivere driven from the city by force of arms. As if the peo- 
ple, believing them to be the patrons of their liberties, would 
quietly permit lliem to be oppressed with such severe inju- 
ries. But so true is it, on the other hand, that by their 
liight, all the tumults were composed ; the cloudy and tem- 
pestuous atmosphere, which they had drawn over the city, 
was dispersed ; the laws resumed their force, and tranquillity 
was restored to the people. Those persons who came to en- 
treat for them, at their request, saw most evidently, that the 
city was no longer divided by discord, nor disturbed by 
contentions •, and that the punishment decreed against them 
was approved by the deliberate opinion of all. Possessed of 
the most consummate impudence, they not only extenuate 
the crimes which they have admitted, but with futile cavils, 
boast that those crimes were made up out of nothing. It 
is by no means difficult to confute these assertions. They 
declare it is not probable, that when they had a large mob 
imder their power, they should rush to arms without a 
strong guard. As if it was a rare and unfrequent example, 
that the wicked are blinded, and thrown headlong by their 


madness. And certainly, whatever they may pretend, it m as 
manifest madness tliat drove one in a back yard, to knock 
down a man with the stroke of a stone, from a\ hence the out- 
cry began. The same infatuation also induced the two bro* 
thers to make an attack upon the watch, av ho \\ ere armed 
with drawn s\\ords. And, moreover, that they should petu- 
lantly contemn and mock the authority of the Syndicks, to 
disobey whom whom was always a capital crime, is an evi- 
dent proof, not merely of sudden fury, but of audaciousness be- 
fore conceived, and among themselves long determined upon. 
Whence originated this unanimous outcry among them all, 
that the city was betrayed by the French, unless they had 
conspired together for this very purpose ? Unless they had, 
by special agreement, given out this watch-word, how could 
it be that in the most distant parts of the city, this outcry, 
made up of nothing, should be joined in at the same mo- 
ment ? How came it to pass, that the wife of that same 
Vandellius ran to the doors of all those whom she supposed 
to be of their party, accusing the French of treason ? But 
this is what one of Perrin's followers confessed, who was more 
intimate with him than any one else, that those two leaders of 
sedition, four or five days before, conversed about it between 
themselves. " Why," said Perrin, *' do we remain idle, 
when we shall shortly be punished for our co^vardice ? It 
is now three years since the enemies have conspired together 
to effect our ruin. They placed me first on the list, ^\'e 
must, therefore, be hand in hand with them. A specious 
pretext is now offered us. We ^v ill say that it is not for the 
interest of the Republick to grant to so many rights of citi- 
zenship. We shall obtain nothing from the upper Senate or 
the two hundred. JFc nilL appeal to the people, JJ popvluni 
provocabimus* 'Fhe multitude will unite with us against the 
will of the Syndicks. We will suborn the men of our party, 
to raise a tumult. There wiJl be no difficulty hi taking off 



our enemies; only let us be daring, and the victory is ours.'* 
This intimate of Perrin, who is ahnost the very shadow of 
the man, repeated this testimony four times. 

Let those men deny that they were justly condemned, who 
proposed to butcher, in the midst of tlie assembly of the peo- 
pie, and in the holy place, two of the Syndicks, some of the 
Senators, and some of the most wortliy ^nd innocent of the 
citizens. I say nothing of myself, as they take it for grant- 
ed that. I am their enemy. What Perrin said, about my 
conspiring tlieir ruin, is not worthy of an answer. 

The Senate have not as yet pronounced sentence against 
VandelJius. But his guilty conscience has driven him from 
the city. From these facts it will be inanifest, that in this 
great tumult, the same moderation has been regarded, as is 
usual in the most quiet state of affairs ; and that nothing 
has been done against those wicked men, either artfully or 
without due consideration. If you were here, you would 
say, that our Senate have proceeded with too much forbear- 
ance and remissness. But it is better to err on this side 
than on the other, lest any one absurdly complain, that it 
was cruel, and done in the heat of passion. God grant, that 
the remembrance of so great a deliverance may awaken us to 
unremitting gratitude, and bind us with diligent assiduity 
to the duties of our office. When I began to write this hU 
ter, I had no expectation of its being carried by our brother 
Othoman. I or although he had spoken of his journey, he 
was then uncertain, whether he should go directly to Zurich, 
and I had determined to procure another messenger. It hap- 
pens wdl, and affords me much pleasure, as he will be able 
to explain more fully any circumstance which I may have 
expressed with too much obscurity, from endeavouring to be 
concise. You have twice exhorted me to patience in my sta- 
tion ; but I think I have borne very patiently so many indig- 
nities, and passed them in silence, that while I restrained my 


passions, ,1 appeared to be wanting in resolution. I wish 
by my silence, and apparent indifference, I could have pacifi- 
ed those who do not cease to hate me, nor to rage against all 
our good citizens. But although they are the more enraged 
on account of my moderation, I am determined to pursue 
one steady course. I am happy to hear that N has ob- 
tained an office in which he may be useful. I\Iay the Lord 
grant him grace to discharge its duties with faithfulness. 
Salute, in my name, your fellow Ministers, your wife and fa- 
mily. Farewell, illustrious man and respected brother. 
May the Lord continue to direct you by his Spirit, and 
bless your labours. 


Geneva, June 15, 1555. 


John Calvin to Sir William Cecil, Secretary to the 
Queen of England. 

For writing to you familiarly, most accomplished man, I 
shall not make a long apology, although I am personally un- 
known to you. Relying on the testimony of some pious per- 
sons, who have declared to me your generosity of heart, I 
trust that you will be disposed to receive my letter with 
pleasure ; especially when you shall discover from the peru- 
sal my intention in Avriting. Since the awful darkness a\ hich 
had almost stupified the minds of pious men is dispersed, and 
the clear light has suddenly shone forth beyond all hope, it is 
reported that you, possessing distinguished favour with hei- 
Majesty the Queen, have endeavoured diligently to remove 
the profligate superstitions of Popery, which had accumula- 
ted through four years in England,^ so that tlie sincere 

* This period embraces the persecuting reign of Queen Mary, who suc- 
ceeded Edward VI. October, 1553, and died November, 1558. Cecil was 



doctrines of the Gospel, and the pure and entire worship of 
God, again flourish. I have now therefore to exhort you 
freely and openly to commence your warfare for Christ. 
This one thing however remains, that what you do you 
should proceed to do with the greatest activity and most in- 
vincible constancy. Your lioly labours should neither be 
broken by any troubles, difficulties, contests or terrours, nor 
even in the least degree retarded. I doubt not, indeed, but 
that obstacles sometimes encounter you ; and that dangers 
rise full before your eyes, which would dishearten the most 
resolute, unless God should sustain them by the most won« 
derful power of his Spirit. This is the cause, for the defence 
of which it is not lawful for us to decline the most arduous 
labours. During the time that the publick place of execu- 
tion was appropriated for burning the children of God, you 
yourself remained silent among others. At least then, since 
greater liberty is restored by the singular and incredible fa- 
vour of God, it becomes you to take courage ; and if you 
was, during that period, too timid, you may now compensate 
that loss by the ardour of your zeal. I know very well, that 
a preposterous haste is injurious ; and that many retard their 
progress by an inconsiderate and precipitate zeal, with which 
they would leap in a moment to the end of their race. But 
on the other hand, it is faithfully to be considered, that to 
maintain the whole truth and pure devotion of the Gospel, is 
the work which God assigns us, and which must not be sloth- 
fully undertaken. From the present state of things, you are 
better able to judge, what steps are proper to be pursued, and 
what degree of moderation is to be exercised. But you will 
remember, that all delay, with however specious colours it 
may be covered, ought to excite your suspicion. One fear, I 

first promoted by the Duke of Somerset, and became a distinguished Law- 
yer ; and by his moderate and temporizing conduct, during Mary's bloody 
reign, he escaped punishment, and continued in England, till, on the acces^ 
sion of Elizabeth, he was made Secretary of State. 


conjecture, is from popular tumults, since among the no])le3 
there are many who would kindle up the fire of sedition ; 
and if the English become tumultuous among themselves, 
their neighbours are at hand, >\ ho anxiously watch for \\ hat- 
ever opportunity may oifer for their purpose. But as her 
most serene Majesty has been wonderfully raised to the 
throne, by the hand of God, she cannot otherwise prove her 
gratitude, than by shaking oil all delays by her prompt ala- 
crity, and surmounting all impediments l^y her magnanimi- 
ty. Since it can hardly be otherwise, but that, in the pre- 
sent turbulent and confused state of things, her attention 
should be suspended among important affairs, her mind per- 
plexed and sometimes wavering ; I have ventured to exhort 
her, that, having entered the right course, she should perse- 
vere with constancy. Whether I have done this prudently 
or not, let others judge. If, by your endcavouj:s, my admo- 
nition produces the desired effect, I shall not repent of hav- 
ing given her that counsel. Consider also, most illustrious 
3ir, that God has placed you in that degree of favour and 
dignity which you hold, that you might be wholly atten- 
tive to this concern, and stretch every nerve to the accom- 
plishment of this work. And lest slothfulness by any means 
creep upon you, let it now and then come into your mind, 
of what great moment are these two things: First, in what 
manner that religion, which was miseral^ly fallen away ; that 
doctrine of salvation, which Avas adulterated by abominable 
falsehoods ; that worship of God, which was polluted w ith 
defilements, may recover their lustre, and the Church be 
cleansed from this a])omination ? Secondly, how the chil- 
dren of God among you may be free to invoke his name in 
sincerity ; and how those who are dispersed may be again 
collected ? Farewell, most excellent man, sincerely respected 
by me. May the Lord guide you by his Spirit, protect and 
enrich you with all good gifts. 
Geneva, January ^9, 1559. 

39j6 life of CALVIN. betters, 


Calvin to Olevianus.# 

As it may perliaps be of some assistance to you, I will give 
you a summary of our mode of government in this Church. 

1. The Ministers are chosen from our College. A pas- 
gage of scripture is given them, by the interpretation of 
which they exhibit a specimen of their abilities ; then an 
examination is held upon the principal heads of doctrine ; 
after this they preach before us, as though they were in the 
presence of the people. Two Senators are also present. If 
their qualifications are approved, we present them to the 
Senate with the testimony. It is in the power of this 
body not to admit them, if they judge them to be unqua- 
lified. If tliey are received, (as they have been always hi- 
therto,) their names are published coram populo^ in presence 
of the people ; and any one who knows any thing against 
them is at liberty to object to them within eight days. 
Those who are approved by the tacit sufi'rages of ztll, we 
recommend to God and to the Church. 

2. We baptize infants only at publick meetings ; because 
it is absurd that this solemn reception of them by the Churchy 
should have only a few witnesses. The parents, unless some- 
thing prevents, are directed to be present, that they may 
answer in the covenant together with the fdejussoribus, sure- 

* Caspar Olevlanus, pf Treves, first studied jurisprudence ; but in at- 
tempting to save from drowning some rash young men, who had upset their 
boat, he fell into extreme danger, and made a vow, that if God would deli- 
ver him, he would, if called to it, preach the Gospel. ' He escaped, and be- 
gan first to read the Commentaries of Calvin ; he then went to Geneva, and 
studied theology under the instruction of that eminent Divine. ; In 1560, he 
was Professor at Heidleberg, in the University of Wisdom, from which place 
he wrote to Calvin for the laws of tlie Genevese Consistory. The above letter 
Is the answer of Calvin. Olevianus died Minister of Herborn in Germany, 
158r, aged 57. Melchior Adams, in Vita Oleviani, p. 596. 



iics.^ No one, however, is admitted as a surety/, unless of 
the same religious profession ^\ith us. Excommunicated 
persons are also prohibited this honour. 

3. No one is admitted to tlie holy Supper of Christ, ])e- 
fore making a pubhck profession of his faith. For this pur- 
pose, we have annually four examinations, at Mliich the 
youth are interrogated, and the proficiency of each one is 
known. For although at the Catechism on each Lord's day, 
they begin before to give some testimony, ytt it is not law- 
ful for them to come to the holy table, until it is knoM n, by 
the opinion of the Minister, that they have made some to- 
lerable proficiency in the principal doctrines of religion. As 
it respects those who are older, we repeat annually the in- 
spection of each family. We distribute among ourselves the 
different parts of the city, so that we can examine in order eve- 
ry ward. The Minister is accompanied by one of the Church 
Elders. At this time the new inhabitants are examined. 
Those who have been once received, at the Supper , are omitted ; 
except that we examine whether their families are in peace and 
good order; whether they have contentions with their neigh- 
bours ; whether they are given to intemperance ; and ^\■hethcr 
they are indifferent and slothful in attending publick worship. 

4. For the discipline of morals, this method is observed : 
Twelve Church Elders are annually chosen ; two from tlie 

* St. Augustine, who died A. D. 430, says that this custom was adopted 
In the Church, on account of infant slaves presented by their masters; 
of infants whose parents were dead ; and of those whom tlieir parents 
abandoned. In all ordinary cases, parents answered for their chiklren. 
Wall's Hist. Rap. vol 1. In the reformed Churches, as tlierc was no com- 
mandment from God for sureties at baptism, they made no rule io bind pa- 
rents to have them, except in cases where one or both parents were Papists, 
or when children of Saracens, or of the Gypsies, were oilercd. So also it 
ivas required, that a motlier, or a woman, in presenting a child, should have 
a surety, to secure the rclij^ious education of Uie child. The Trcsbyterian 
and Congregational Ciuuches now consider the Church, whicli receives a 
child, to be tlie surety, together wiUx the parent or presenting person, for 
rhe religious education of the child. See Quick's Synod, vol. 1. p. 45. 

a9S LIFE OF CALVIN, i:etteks- 

upper Senate ; the other ten from the Council of two hun- 
dred, either natives or naturalized citizens. Those who 
honestly and faithfully perform their duty are not remov- 
ed from office, unless when occupied by other concerns of the 
Republick. After the election, before they take their seats, 
their names are published to the people, that if any one 
should know them to be unworthy, he may declare it in season. 

5. No one is summoned to the ecclesiastical tribunal, un» 
less by the general opinion of all the board ; therefore each 
one is asked, whether he has any thing to offer ? No one is 
summoned, unless he has refused compliance with private 
admonitions, or brought scandal on the Church by an evil 
example. For instance, blasphemers, drunkards, fornicators, 
strikers, quarrellers, dancers, who lead in balls, and such like, 
are called before the Censura Morwn, Those who commit light- 
er offences are dismissed with the correction of mild reproof. 
Greater sins are reproved with sharper severity ; for the Mi- 
nister excludes them, at least for a short time, from the 
Supper, until, upon their asking forgiveness, they are recon- 
ciled to the Church. If any one obstinately despises the au- 
thority of the Church, unless he desist from his stubbornness 
before a year is past, he is thrown into exile by the Senate 
for a year. If any one proves more perverse, the Senate 
takes up the cause and inflicts the punishment. Those who, 
for the sake of redeeming their lives from the Papists, have 
abjured the doctrines of the Gospel, or attended mass, are 
ordered to appear before the Church. The Minister from 
the pulpit sets forth the matter. Then the excommunicat- 
ed person falls on his knees, and humbly implores forgive- 
ness. Such is the procedure of the Consistory, that it in no 
way interferes with the course of civil jurisdiction. And 
that the people may not complain of any unreasonable ri- 
gour, the Ministers are not only subject to the same punish- 
ments, but if they commit any thing worthy of excommuni- 
cation, they are also at the same time deposed. 

Geneva, November 5, 15G0. 




NO. 1— PAGE 1. 

MaThurin Cordier, or Corderius, was a man of distin- 
guished erudition and probity. Eminently skilled in the Latin 
language, he taught it with singular success, and with affec- 
tionate address, laboured to impress on the minds of his pu- 
pils the principles of true wisdom. He spent a long life in 
teaching youth at Paris, Nevers, Bordeaux, Geneva, Neuf- 
chatel, Lausanne, and again at Geneva, where he died, Sep- 
tember 8th, 1564, aged 85. Such was the vigour of Corde- 
rius, that he instructed the scholars of the sixth form, till 
within three or four days of his death. Calvin highly re- 
spected Corderius, and dedicated to him his Commentary on 
the first Epistle to the Thessalonians, in the year 1550. Cal- 
vin speaks of him as a man of excellent piety and learning. 
After mentioning the circumstance of his father's sending 
him to Paris, and the strict discipline of Cordier in laying 
the foundation of the Latin correctly and thoroughly, he 
says, I'hia I would testify to fiosterityy that if any benefit 
shall flow to them from my ivritings^ they jnust^ in a great 
measure^ acknowledge it to be derived from your instructions. 
Corderius studied divinity for some time at Paris, in the 
College of Navarre, about 1528. He however returned to 
his former profession of Grammarian ; and became exten- 
sively Useful in promoting the study of the Latin, in the 
School of the Reformers. At this period, the Latin lan- 
guage was cultivated and advanced to a degree of purity 
which has been rarely equalled by any writer since. The 
true friends of the Gospel have been ever anxious to have tht • 

400 LIFE OF CALVIN. uotes. 

minds of people enlightened, and the scriptures diffused. 
The Reformers were the strenuous supporters of literature. 
They were master workmen in the temple of theology. 
Their labours were immense, and the effects produced as- 
tonishing. And the familiar Colloquies of Corderius 
were then a stepping stone to that ascent of knowledge, by 
which Calvin and others reached the highest elevation, to 
the benefit of the Church of Christ. 

NO. 2— PAGE 2. 

The Tonsure in the Romish Church may be received after 
the age of seven years. — It is the first part of the ceremony 
of ordination. The candidate presents himself in a black 
cassock before the Bishop, with a surplice on his right 
arm, and a lighted taper in his hand. He kneels, and the 
Bishop, standing covered with his mitre, repeats a prayer 
and several verses from the scripture. The Bishop then sit- 
ting, cuts five different parcels of hair from the head of the can- 
didate, who repeats these words — The Lord in my inheritance. 
Putting off his mitre, the Bishop then says a prayer over the 
person tonsured — an anthem is sung by the choir ; then a 
prayer, in the middle of which the Bishop puts the surplice 
on the candidate for orders, and says, may the Lord clothe thee 
with thy new name. The ceremony is closed by the candi- 
date's presenting the wax taper to the Bishop, who gives 
him his blessing. Dr. Hurd's Rites and Cerem. p. 282. 

NO. 3— PAGE 3. 

Peter Robert Olivetan was the first who translated 
the scriptures from the Hebrew into the French language. 
The Preface to the Old Testament, addressed to all the Em- 
perours, Kings, Princes and nations, subject to the dominion 
of Christ, was written by Calvin, and bears date at Neufcha- 
tel, 1535. The Preface to the New Testament was also writ- 
ten by him, and bears the same date. They were originally 
"Written in French. They are to be found in the Latin, 
among Calvin's Epistles, in the 9th Vol. of his works. Oli- 
vetan's translation is known among the learned by the title 
of the Bible of Neufchatel. Olivetan died in 1536, at Rome, 
and was supposed to be poisoned by the Papists, on account 
«f this translation of the scriptures from the Hebrew. 


NO. 4— PAGE 4. 

Melchior Wolmar was a native of Switzerland. Like 
Corderius in the Latin, Wolmar was eminent as an instruc- 
tor in the Greek language. He wrote Commentaries on the 
first two books of the Iliad of Homer. While he continued 
at Bourges, he not only instructed Calvin in the Greek, bul. 
was, for several years, the instructor of Theodore Bczu. 
Calvin dedicated to Wolmar his Commentary on the 2d Epis- 
tle to the Corinthians, dated 1546. In this he expresses his 
great obligation to him for his assistance in the study of the 
Greek, and also in the acquisition of religious knowledge. 
Calvin also mentions, that he should have continued his 
course of studies at the University of Bourges, if he had not 
been recalled by the death of his father. After leaving 
France, Wolmar was Professor of Law at Tubingen in Ger- 
many, and died at Eisenach in 1561, aged 64. 

NO. 5— PAGE 6. 

Margaret de Valois, Queen of J\'<2T'crre.— This learned 
and illustrious woman, the decided friend and patroness of 
the early Reformers, died at the Castle Odos, Dec. 2d, 1549, 
aged 57. She left a daughter by the name of Jane, who 
had imbibed her religious principles, and succeeded to her 
title, and was an unwavering friend to the reformed Church. 
Jane, Queen of Navarre, signed the confession of faith 
drawn up by Calvin, and which had been adopted by the re- 
fovmed Churches of France, in 1559. She was mother of 
Henry IV. of France, and died June 10, 1572, about two 
months before the horrid massacre of St. Bartholomew V 
day, which was August 24th. 

NO. 6.— PAGE 7. 

James Fader, Stapulensis, of Estaples, a small borough. 
upon the sea coast of Picardy. He was of small stature and 
low extraction, but of great genius and extensive learning. 
He was educated in the university of Paris ; and from inde- 
pendency of mind laboured to improve the course of studies, 
and to revive the pursu" of solid learning purified from the 
barbarism of the schools. After studying philosophy and 
the mathematicks, he applied himself to divnuiy, and took 
his degree of Doctor ; but being suspected of favouring the 
new doctrines, he was obliged to leave Paris. Tie retired to 




Meaux, where lie was patronized by the Bishop, William 
Bii90Rnet, who was a friend to science and to the Reformers. 
But persecution drove Faber to Blois and to Guienne, till 
Margaret of Navarre took him under her patronage. He 
lived atNerac, and died in 1537, aged about 100. During his 
residence with the Queen, she sent him to 3trasburg, to con- 
fer with Capito and Bucer relative to the reformation of the 
Church. The day before his death he is said to have lament- 
ed, that he had not taught the truth at the fieril of his Ufe-^ as 
others had do7ic ; and that he had had the weakiiess to stay in that 
place of refuge. She endeavoured to comfort him ; but he 
said, I have nothing to do now, after I have made my will, 
but to die and go to God. He informed the Queen that he 
had made her his heir, on condition that she should give all 
he had to the poor. He retired to his bed and expired with- 
out a struggle. Dupin, 16 Cent. Book 3, p. 426, and Bayle. 
and Rces' Cyclo. 

NO. 7— PAGE 8. 

Gerard Roussel of Picardy, William Farel of Dau- 
phiny, James Faber, Stapulensis, and Arnoldus Roussel, 
brother of Gerard, first preached the doctrines of the Refor- 
mation in France, under the patronage of IVilliam Bri^onnety 
Bishop of Meaux, in 1523. These Divines, as Dupin calls 
them, gathered the first reformed Church at Meaux, and or- 
dained Peter le Clerk, who preached and administered the 
Sacrament till their numbers being increased to about 400, 
they were discovered. Le Clerk was, by the Papists, whip- 
ped, branded and banished, and after preaching at Metz, was 
burnt. The four Divines were banished. All which took 
place in the year 1523. 

NO. 8-.PAGE 11. 

Clement Marot, through the means of the Princess Re- 
nee, obtained leave of Francis I. to return from Ferrara into 
France. He was a favourite of the King's, and in his day 
was called " the Poet of Princes, and the Prince of Poets." 
He versified 30 of the Psalms in the French language, and 
dedicated them to the King, who was highly pleased, and re- 
quested Marot to proceed in the version. The Doctors of the 
Sorbonne, however, censured the translation, and remonstrat- 
ed \vith the King against the publication, and eventually it was 
prohibited. This was about 1540. The prohibition excited 
publick curiosity, and they were culled for faster than the 


printers could work them off. They were sun,q; in the tunes 
of the common ballads by the people, Courtiers and Princes. 
Marot was hated by the Papists, and beintj apprehensive of 
imprisonment, he retired to Geneva, and in I5i;> completed 
the versification of 20 more of the Psalms, which were pub- 
lished with die thirty which had been printed at Paris. Cal- 
vin wrote the preface to this edition in behalf of the Church 
of Geneva, which is dated June 10th (1543.) These were 
introduced into the publick service of the Churc h. Calvin 
took care to procure the Psalms to be set to musick, by tiie 
most distinguished musicians. Beza came to Cieneva iu 
1548. He says, the first time he attended publick worshij), 
he heard the 9 1st Psalm sung, and was so ravished with it 
that he ever after carried it engraven on his heart. About 

1552, Beza, at Lausanne, versified the Psalms omitted by 
Marot, (viz. 100,) and these were set to musick by William 
Franck, and published together with those of Marot at Geneva, 
and the avails of them appropriated to the support of poor 
refugees at Geneva Thus the whole collection of Psalms, 
together with the musick, was first printed at Geneva in 

1553. In this edition, the Psalms were printed with Calvin's 
Catechism. This excited the aversion of the Papists, who 
had before used those of Marot. But now to sing them was 
a mark of heresy in their estimation. About the time of the 
conference of Poissy, a license was obtained from Charles IX. 
for printing Marot's and Beza's version of the Psalms, for the 
use of the reformed Churches. Editions of them were printed 
at Paris and at Lyons, 1661. 

The mode of singing Psalms in measured verse, as now 
practised, was introduced first by Calvin at Geneva, in 1543. 
From that Church the practice went forth into all the reform- 
ed Churches in France, and was introduced into Ent;land by 
the Presbyterians, who resided at Geneva, and established an 
English Church there during the Marian persccutioTi. The 
English exiles, while at Geneva, commenced and completed 
a transbttion of the scriptures into the English languas^c. 
The principal translators were Miles Covcrdale^ C/iristo/ihtr 
Goodman^ John Knox^ Anthony Gilby or Gibbs.^ Thomas ^ujtifi- 
son, IVilliam Cole and' JVilliarn Whit tin if ham. They divided 
the chapters into verses, and added notes in the mur_9;in, and 
also tables, maps, kc. and published it with a dedication to 
Queen Elizabeth in 1560. The Psalms versified and set to 
musick, as in the Church of Geneva, were annexed to this 
Bible. This version has been known as that of Stcrnhold and 
Hojikin^. The initials of the name of the versifier were pre- 

40i LIFE OF CALVIN. hoxes, 

fixed to each Psalm. Sternhold was the first, who, in imi- 
tation of Marot, turned about forty of the Psalms into English 
metre. And in 1554, they were published with a dedication 
to Edward V'l. Strype's Annals Vol. 2, p. 86. He died in 
1549. John Hopkins, Thomas Norton, William Whitting- 
ham and others versified the others in English metre at 
Geneva, which, together with Sternhold*s, were published 
first in 1559, and then in 1560, at the end of the Geneva Bi- 
ble. Thus the Psalms versified in English came into 
England, and were allowed first to be sung before the morn- 
ing and CA^ening service ; and at length they were published 
witli this declaration : Psalms set forth and allowed to be 
^ung in all Churches^ before and after morning and evening 
JPraycr, as also before and after Sermons. And in a short 
time they superceded the Te Deu?n^ Btnedicite^ Magnificat 
and A«72c di?}iittis, Avhich had been retained from the Romish 
Church. Bayle, Art. Marot. Neal. p. 109. Heylin. p. 213, 
214. Rees Cy. Art. Bible. Burnet, p. 290. 

NO. 9--PAGE 12. 

The Princess Re nee was very distinguished for her un= 
shaken and cordial attachment to the cause of the Reforma- 
tion. Being the daughter of Lewis XII. her influence was 
considerable, and she used it nobly and faithfully in relieving 
the poor, and supporting the persecuted in their distresses. 
After the death of the Duke of Ferrara, her husband, in 1559, 
she returned from Italy to France in 1560, and openly profes- 
sed the reformed doctrines at Montagris, where she died in 
1575. Her constancy, courage and humanity have rarely 
been equalled, in adhering to her religious principles, and in 
supporting the poor and pei^ecuted under all the apprehen= 
siveness of Popish superstition and barbarous cruelty. 

NO. 10— PAGE 15. 

(Note. — The following note is referred to page 15, and is 
there called No. 9 ; it should be No. 10.) 

Francis Junius, in his animadversions upon Bellarmin, 
says that he was at Geneva when Calvin closed bis life ; but 
that he never saw, heard, knew, thought, or even dreamed of 
the blasphemies and curses which the Papists said he uttered 
at his death. So it may be presumed, that when Beza wrote 
the account of Calvin's entering on the ministerial office, he 
did not even ^rcam, that any one, either from ignorance or 


effrontery, would call in question or deny C'ilvu\'s ordination. 
But what Beza did not probably even dream of, two Doctors 
in America, after about two centuries and a half, have called 
in question, and it seems denied. Dr. Lcaminp: may be excu- 
sed for not construing the Latin of Bcza ; but Dr. Bowden, 
unless by chusing to lose himself in his own prejudices, he 
has passed beyond the limits of common testimony, and es- 
caped out of the entire dominion of argument, may bo re- 
quested to read in the original Latin, Bezas life of Calvhi^ 
Anno. 1536. Let him examine also Calvin's Preface to his 
Commentary on the Psalms, and his answer to Sadolet, a short 

extract from which shall be here given in a fair translation 

<' When I was called at Geneva, the reformed religion was 
already established, and the order of the Church corrected. I 
not only approved by my voice of those things which had 
been done by Farel and Viret^ but as much as I was able, I 
laboured to preserve and confirm that cause in which I was 
by necessity united with them. I could have easily forgiven 
you any personal injury, out of respect to your office and lite- 
rature ; but when I see my ininifitnjy which I doub^^ not was 
founded and sanctioned by the vocation ot God, \\ tended 
through my side, it would be perfidy and not patience, if I 
should remain silent and dissemble in such a case. / dis- 
charged first the office of Profeanor and aflerivards that of 
Pastor in that Church. And I contend that I accepted of that 
charge having the authority of a laniful vocation. With how 
great fidelity and reverential fear I performed my duty, I 
have no occasion now to testify in detail. I will not arro- 
gate to myself any peculiar discernment, erudition, prudence, 
address or even diligence. I am, however, conscious, before 
Christ my judge,and all his Angels,that I walked in thatChur( h 
with the sincerity which is becoming in the work of the Lord. 
On this point, all good men will give me the most luminous 
testimony. Since then this ministry has been established by 
the Lord, if I should silently suffer it to be slandered and 
abused by you, who would not reprobate such silence as a 
prevarication ? Every one sees, that I am now pledged by 
the high responsibility of wy office^ and that I cannct escape 
the obligation which binds me to defend myself against your 
criminations, unless I deliberately, and with open perfidy, 
abandon and betray the work which the Lord has committed 
to my charge. But though I am, at present, freed from the 
pastoral charge of the Gcnevese Church, still this is' no rea- 
son why I should not embrace it with paternal aflection, since 
God once put me in authority over it, and bound me to it in 
a perpetual covenant." Cwrdiual Sadolet did not deny Ca!- 

4aG LIFE OF CALVIN. notes. 

vin's ordination. Opuscula Calvini, p. 105. Bellarmin, ano- 
ther Cardinal) who was twenty two years of age when 
Calvin deceased, says that none but the Popes could create 
Bishops and Presbyters^ — and that neither Luther, nor Zu- 
ixGLius, nor Calvin were Bishops, but only Presbyters — i 
scd tantum Prebyteri. It may be fairly left with the Dr. to 
determine the question, how Calvin could be a Presbyter^ 
without ordination ? 

P'rancis Junius, in his animadversions upon Bellarmin, says 
that Luther and Zuinglius received ordination in the Romish 
Church — ^that Calvin was ordained by those who preceded him 
— qui anteccsscrunt; eumque ordinaverunt. — Farel and Coraudy 
who received ordination in the Romish Church, preceded Cal- 
vin at Geneva; and Beza states, that they were colleagues 
with Calvin in the Church in that city. The letter of Bucer 
to Calvin, dated Strasburg, November 1, 1536, is unanswera- 
ble testimony, that Calvin was at this time a Minister of the 
Church of Geneva ; or Bucer would not have spoken of his 
ministry, nor called him 7ny brother and fellow Minister. 
This designates the time before which Calvin must have re- 
ceived ordination and the charge of that Church. — See No. 3 
of the preceding Letters in this volume. For other proofs of 
Calvin's ordination, see the able and elegant letters of Dr. 
Miller, vol. 2, Continuation of letters concerning the consti- 
tution and order of the Christian Ministry, addressed to the 
members of the Presbyterian Churches in the city of JSfew- 
Yorky 1809. Lett. 7, p. 306. 

NO. 11~PAGE 35. 

Ubi quum Pastoris constantis et seduli opera requireretur. 
—-Beza has used the word Pastor in a manner too loose for a 
historian, and has misled some learned writers, who, from this 
expression, have concluded that Sebastian Castalio was a Pas' 
tor of the Church. But this is not the fact. Castalio was ne- 
ver in the ministry. Calvin first patronized him by introdu- 
cing him as a teacher of the languages in the Divinity school at 
Strasburg, about 1540 or 1541. After Calvin returned to 
Geneva, he invited Castalio to take the charge of the gram- 
mar school in this city. He soon discovered his obscene 
taste and heretical opinions. Castalio was excluded by the 
Senate from Geneva in 1544. The following is a part of the 
certificate which Castalio states was given him at that time, 
written by Calvin : " We testify, in a brief manner, that he 
so conducted himself with us that by our united consent he 
was already designed for the pastoral office. — ■ — Lest there- 


fore, any one should suspect, that it was for some other reason 
that Sebastian went away from us, we would give this testi- 
mony wherever he shall come : — he left of his own accord 
the mastership of the school. In that employment he so 
conducted himself, that we judged him worthy of the holy 
ministry ; and to this he would have been received had it 
not been for some spots on his life, and some profane opin- 
ions which he advanced against the articles of our faith. 

These were the only reasons which prevented." This is 

full evidence, that Castalio was never in the Ministry, and of 
course not deposed from it, as Spon and others have asserted. 
Calvin's conduct in this instance appears candid and dignified 
towards Castalio, who did not cease, in a covert and hypocri- 
tical way, to injure and involve him in difiiculties, by aiding 
the factious at Geneva. Castalio spent his time subsequent!) 
at Basil where he instructed in the languages. lie died 
poor and unpatronized, December 29, 1563, aged 48. Baylf: 
Art. Cast. 

NO. 12— PAGE 37. 

Albert Pighius wrote ten books against Calvin's Insti- 
tutes. Six books were upon the freedom of the ivilL These 
Calvin answered in the course of two months, amidst all his 
other avocations. Calvin, in his reply to the first book of 
Pighius, says, "I wonder how Pighius had the assurance to 
transcribe so familiarly several things from my book into his 
own without naming me. I do not see by what authority he 
could do it unless by the right of prescription ; for he has 
been accustomed to do this for a long time. In that great 
book, which he published against our articles of failh> he has 
stuffed in whole pages from my Institutes, as may be seen, 
and adapted it to his purpose, as though it was his own. 
Now I would know by what right or title, he thus uses what 
is mine for his own ? Does he thmk, that he has a right to 
plunder me of whatever he pleases, because I ani liis enemy!' 
But this kind of depredation can neither be justified by law nor 
custom. Only one pretext remains, being a Kainod man, it 
is possible, that what came first into my mind, miglit also 
come into his. But I would ask the readers, if tiiey have 
leisure, to compare the first chapter of Pighius' buok \utl^ 
the first chapter of my Institutes — and what he wrote on jus- 
tification in his other work ^^ith the ^ixth thafitcr of my In- 
stitutes."* " He does not steal secretly here and there, nor 

» Calvin's Institutes were at this time divided only int« chapters. 

408 LIFE OF CALVIN. i?otEs. 

does he study to conceal his plunder by artifice, in order to 
make it look like his own.— He openly recites -whole pages 
word for word. But I have something to say in his defence. 
He acted more from the expectation of security than silliness. 
He sought to please those nvho scrufiulously avoid reading 
our writings^ while they eagerly jiraise and admire every 
thing of every kind ivhich opposes W5.»— <Opuscula Calvini. 
p. 1 2 I . 

NO. 13— PAGE 49. 

Bucer, in a letter to Calvin, dated Strasburg, October 28, 
1542, says ; " Our literary school is well supplied ; a man 
has arrived here from Italy, learned in Greek, Hebrew and 
Latin, happily versed in the scriptures, 44 years of age, with 
good talents and a penetrating genius ; his name is Peter 
Martyr. He was President of the Canons of Lucca in 

Martyr continued at Strasburg, until, at the invitation of 
Cranmer in the King's name, he v/ent over to England, in 
November 1547. In 1549, he was appointed divinity Pro- 
fessor at Oxford, by Edward VI. He married at Strasburg 
a nun who, like himself, had escaped from the superstitions 
of a convent. She died during his residence at Oxford. On 
the accession of Queen Mary in 1553, after Martyr returned 
to Strasburg, during the Marian persecution, the bones of 
his wife were dug up by the virulent Papists, and buried in 
a dung hill. Martyr v/^as, for the seven last years of his life, 
Professor at Zurich. He was at the Convention at Poissy, in 

1561, with Theodore Beza, and died soon after his return in 

1562, aged 63. He was learned, zealous, sincere and hum- 
ble. He wrote Commentaries on the scriptures, and against 
the Papists, and on the Lord's Sup/ier, in reply to Gardner, 
Bishop of Winchester. Burnet, Vol. 2, p. 50. 

NO. 14— PAGE 161. 

Martin Bucer was born 1491, at Schelestadt in the Pro- 
vince of Alsace. He entered the order of Dominicans 
at the age of 7 years. In 1521, he had a conference with 
Luther. Having previously perused the writings of Eras- 
mus and of Luther, he was prepared to unite with the Ger- 
man Reformers. He settled at Strasburg, and officiated 
there both as Minister and theological Professor for 20 years ; 
and with Capito was the chief instrument of the early refor- 
mation in that city. When the troubles about the Interiin 


ai-ose, he gladly accepted the invitation of Cranmer, and %vent 
to England 1549. He was highly respected by the King and 
Cranmer, as the great honours paid his remains at his funeral 
testify. In the Marian persecution, his tomb was demolish- 
ed and his body burnt; but the tomb was afterwards rebuilt 
by order of Queen Elizabeth. He was learned in the Latin, 
Greek and Hebrew. 

He revised the Liturgy of the English Church in 1550, 
at the request of Cranmer. The first step towards a refor- 
mation of the service of the Church in England was under 
Henry VHL in 1536. Alexander Aless, a Scotchman, who 
resided sometime in Germany, had imbibed the Lutheran sen- 
timents. He was at this time Avith Cranmer at Lambetii. 
Lord Cromwell inti'oduced him to the Convocation, and de- 
sired him to give his opinion about the Sacraments. He 
maintained that Christ instituted only two, Baptism and the 
Lord's Supper. In this Convocation, they agreed to five 
articles of faith, and five concerning the ceremonies of the 
Church. These were printed and published with the sanc- 
tion of Henry. 

On the accession of Edward VI. in 1547, the Liturgy of 
the Church was new modelled from the several Popish missals 
or mass-books, as of Sarum, Bangor, York, Hereford and 
Lincoln. Thus reformed, it was published and sanctioned 
by Edward, in November, 1548. In 1550, the common pray- 
er-book was brought to another revision. Bucer was now 
Professor at Cambridge ; and at Cranmer's request, Alex- 
ander Aless at this time translated the Liturgy of 15 48 into 
Latin for the use of Bucer. In the works of Bucer, the 
translation of Aless is published with the censures of 
Bucer, which are numerous, and which Burnet says were 
afterwards mostly adopted. Bucer finished his corrections 
January 5, 1551, and died February 28. 

The Capitation to these is as follows : Tlie Corrections cf 
Martin Bucer ^i/ion the Liturgy^ or the. order of the Church 
and the Ministry in the Kingdom of Kvgland ; ivrittcn at 
the request of Tho7nas Cranmer., Archbiaholi of Canterbury. 
Opera Buceri, p. 456. 

Dr. Pleylin, in labouring with much petulance to fix an 
odium upon Calvin, has highly complimented him, by rela- 
ting some things which others of that Church ai-e anxious lo 
deny. He says, " That Calvin having taken ordtM* ANith 
Martin Bucer, on his first coming into England, u> give him 
some account of the English Liturgy ; he hud no sooner ii*i- 
ti'sficd hijrtself in the sight tliercof, but he makcb presently 




his exceptions and demurs upon it"*^— -«and "presently 
writes back to Bucer, whom he requires to be instant with 
the Lord Protector, that all such rites as savoured of super- 
stition might be taken away." — " He had his agents in the 
court, the city, the universities, the country, and the convoca- 
tio7i." — " Let it suffice^ that by the eagerness of their solicita- 
tions, more than for any thing ivhich could he faulted in the 
book itself it ivas brought under a review (\550) and there-- 
by altered to a further distance than it had before from the 
rituals of the Qhurch of Rome." Heylin Hist. Presb. p. 
11 & 12. 

Peter Martyr and John Alasco were of the number com- 
missioned to revise and embody a system of ecclesiastical 
laws for the English Church in 1552. Burnet, Vol. 2, Anno. 
1552. In 1551, the articles of faith in the English Church 
were prepared. Bucer was for beginning with the doctrines 
before the ceremonies, but Cranmer judged it expedient to 
vdelay these till the Liturgy should be settled. In what me- 
thod they proceeded in compiling the articles Burnet says. 
is not certain. He supposes that Cranmer and Ridley first 
framed them, and that they were then sent to others to pro- 
pose amendments. The doctrines of faith were comprised 
in 42 articles, and published with the Liturgy in 1552, and 
established by the King. They were again revised and re- 
duced with some alterations to the present number 39, in the 
veign of Queen Elizabeth in 1562. Burnet, Vol. 2, p. 158. 
and Collection, p, 190. 

Note from the 5th line at the foot of page 215. 

Some of the professed friends, as well as the avowed ene- 
mies of Calvin, have been anxious to establish the point, that 
Calvin limited the atonement of Christ to the sins of the 
elect alone. Calvin's opinion however was, that the atone- 
ment of Christ was for Sin, as he deliberately says in his Will, 
That the blood of the exalted JRedeeiner was shed for the sins of 
the hunian race, — He is no less explicit in his Commentaries- 
Rom. V. 18 — " Nam etsi passus est Christus pro peccatis toti- 
us mundi, atque omnibus indifferenter Dei benignitate offcr- 
tur, non tamen omnes apprehendunt." For although Christ 

* Calvin was not alone in his exceptions against the Liturgy, for Cranmer 
^^ Fatebatur multa detracta oportere superflua, et ardentibus votis cupiebat 
cain melius correcta." — Cranvier confessed that there rjere many svperfjiom 
things in the Book, that ought to be taken ovt, and earnestly -tvished that it might 
have some further amendment. Pierce's Vindic. p. 12, 13. quoted by Neal, 
Vol. 1. Quarto Ed. Appendix, p. 895.- 





the benevolence of God it is indifferently offered to all^ yet all 
do not receive him. Opera Calvini, vol. 7. 



Julius n. 

Leo X. created March, 1513, 
Adrian VI. January, 1522, 

December, 1523, 
October, 1534, 

Clement VH. 
Paul IIL 
Julius III. 
Marcellus II. 
Paul IV. 
Pius IV. 

February, 155G, 

April, 1555, 

June, 1555, 

January, 1559, 

died March, 1513. 

December, 1521, 

October, 1523. 

October, 1534. 

November, 1549^ 

April, 1555. 

May, 1555. 

September, 1559. 

December, 1565. 


Lewis XII. 
Francis I. 
Henry II. 
Francis II. 
Charles IX. 

crowned 1515, 


died 1515. 


Henry VII. crowned 1509, 

Edward VI. February, 1547, 

Mary, October, 1553, 

Elizabeth, January, 1559, 

died January, 1547. 

July, 1553. 

November, 1558. 

March, 1603. 


Maximilian, died 151 5. 

Charles V. of Spain, crowned 1519, rcsi;j^ncd 1556. 

Ferdinand I. succeeded him, and died lp64. 

412 LIFE OF CALVIN. noies. 


Ulrick Zuinglius, died 1531. 

John CEcolampadiusj 153 U 

Martin Luther, 1546. 

Philip Melancthon, 1560. 

Wolfgang Capito, 1541. 

Martin Bucer, 1551. 

Henry Bullinger, 1575. 

Thomas Cranmer, 1556. 

William Farel, 1565. 

Peter Viret, 15''1- 

John Alasco, 1560. 

Jerome Zanchius, 1590. 

Peter Martyr, 1562. 

Theodore Beza^ .1605, 

John Knox, ^572. 


Afflictions sanctified, page 274. 

Anabafitists^ their attempt and defeat, If. Compared with Li- 
bertines, 40, 41. 
4ugsburgy Diet of, 57, 


Bernard^ his letter to Calvin on the subject of his return to 
Geneva and Calvin's answer, 268, 269. 

Bertilier^ clerk in the lower Council in Geneva, his excom- 
munication and the trials of Calvin occasioned by the influ- 
ence of Perrin in this matter, 142. 

Bolseck^ Jerome, the head of a faction at Geneva, 70 — 72. 
Turned Papist and with a malicious view wrote the Life of 
Calvin, 128, 183. 

Bucer, one of the Reformers, his opinion respecting the In- 
terim and his arrival in England, 57 — 59. His death, Feb. 
28, 1551, 68. 

Ccroli, his character and conduct, 17*— 19. Letter of reproof 

from Calvin to him, 245. 
Castalioy his unfaithfulness in duty, 35. His version of the 

scriptures, and Calvin's opinion of it, 38, 39. Disseminates 

Pelagianism, 72, 73. His certificate received from Calvin, 

406. A^o. 11. 
€atechis7n^ importance of for the instruction of youth, 336. 
Cauvin^ the original sirname of Calvin, how changed, 5. 
Cecily Secretary to Elizabeth Queen of England, o'Ky. 
Censors of books, their ofhce, 242. J\,''o(c. 
Charles V. Empcrour of Germany reluctantly aided the cause 

of the Reformation, his temporising conduct, 39, 40. His 

intrigue, 50 — ^2, 
Character and description of Calvin in general, 226 — ':32. 
Chateau Caryibrcsis^ the peace of, concluded between I'crdi- 

nand King of Spain and Henry H. King of France, the ob. 

jectand cffcctts of the same, 195. 


Chrism^ its import, 340. J^oie. 

Chronological table^ of Popes Sec. 411. 

Clemency^ Calvin's Commentary on Seneca's Epistle, De 
dementia composed at Paris, his object, 4, 5. 

Communion^ mode of receiving members, private administra- 
tion, 299. 

Cona?e,Prince of, a warm advocate of the Reformation, 198, 21 1. 

Conference at Worms, an account of it, 265. 

Confession of faith for the Protestants proposed by Cranmer, 
359 — 364. 

Conformity to the Papists condemned by Calvin, 49. 

Consfiiracy against Geneva, 383. 

Con-vention of Princes at Frankfort under Charles V. for 
the peace of the Empire, 253, 258, 263. 

Cofi^ Nicholas, by the suggestion of Calvin delivered a dis' 
course on the superstitions of those times, 6. 

Coraud^ his character, 248. 

Corderius^ Mathurin, an account of him, 399, J\'o. 1. 

Cox, and his associates, Calvin's letter to them on the subject 
of reforming the English Liturgy, 166. 


Death of Calvin, an account of, 225. 

Decree of the Senate in answer to unreasonable propositions 

of Charles V. 264. 
Dedication of Calvin's Commentary on the Epistle of John, 

Diligence of Calvin, 4, 34, 211. 
Biscijiline, principal heads of it, in the Church of Geneva, 15S. 

The necessity of it and the principle on which it should be 

conducted, 289, 306. 
Doctrines, fundamental, 333. 
Du Bourge, Annes, a distinguished Counsellour and member 

of the Senate of Paris, he was executed for advocating a 

spirit of mildness toward the Protestants, 195 — 197. 

Ednvard VI. successor of Henry VIII. King of England, hi3 
character, 161. Calvin's influence with him to promote the 
cause of the Reformation in his kingdom, 58. 

Eucharist, the difference between the Lutherans and Calvin-v 
ists on this, lamented, 319 — 324. 

Excommunication, the right of it belongs to the Church, not 
to the civil power, 33, 34. 

ExJiiulsion of Calvin, Coraud and Farel from Geneva, 23. 


TFubeV) James, an account of him, 401, Ab. 6. 

)Parel, William, his zeal in the cause of the Reformation and 
his influence with Calvin, 13, 15, 237. His danger for re- 
proving the factious at Geneva, 145. His assistance djesir- 
ed by Calvin, 292. His last visit to Calvin, 223. 

Fate and predestination contrasted, 74. 

Fellowshiji with the Church of Rome renounced by Calvin, 9. 

Festival days, holiness of them renounced by (.he Church of 
Geneva, 68. 

Fontainbleau^ place of an Assembly of the nobles of France 
for the purpose of devising measures to impede the Reform- 
ation, 199, 200. 

Francis I. his character, 8, 10, 14. 

Frankfort^ Calvin's letter to the English refugees at this 
place, 163. 


Gallasius^ Nicholas, was sent from Geneva to take charge of 
the Presbyterian Church in England, 205. 

Geneva^ the place of Calvin's residence and labours, 15. Cal- 
vin's expulsion from this place, 23. The return of Calvin 
to it, 28, 52, 267, 274, 288. Difficulties encountered by 
Calvin in it, 382—392. 

Gerard Chauvin, the father of Calvin, his calculations re- 
specting his son, 2. 

Governincnt of the Church at Geneva, 396. 

Grotius, Hugo de, his ungenerous aspersion of Calvin togctli- 
er with the reason of it, 132, 133. 

GryneiiSy Calvin^s letter to him repelling the charge of Ari- 
anism, 18. 


Henry II. King of France, his remarkable death, 195, 190. 
VIII. his religious character, 260. 

Hereticks, opinions respecting their punishment, 100, 101, 
112, 133. 

Institutes of Calvin published at Basil, 11. Revised ai»d 
published, 26. The high value put upon theiii l)y all men 
of piety and learning, and the time when they began to be 
neglected, 133 — 142. Different editions of the work, 192. 
Reasons for the publication of it, 236. 

Interim^ explained, 57. 

Intrepidity of Calvin on a perilous occasion, 54. ^ 

Junius^ Francis, his testimony respecting Calvin's ordinulion, 
405, Ao. 10. 


ifltv::', Ae study of this profession prosecuted by Calvin, 2. 
And is relinquished for the cause of religion, 6. 

Legend of Papists respecting Calvin's tomb, 126. 

Lisset, Peter, an Inquisitor who zealously and with great art 
persecuted the reformers, 36. 

liturgy of the Church of England formed under the influ- 
ence of Calvin, 5^^ 59, 162, 181. 


Marot, Clement, an account of him, 402, J\'o. 8. 

Martyr^ Peter, his letter to Calvin on the subject of his sick- 
ness Sec. 193. An account of his arrival at Strasburg, 408, 
Ao. 13. 

Mclancthon^ Philip, his first acquaintance with Calvin, 27. 
Too accommodating, 60, 345. Calvin's opinion of him, 
172, 175, 176, 254, 260. Plis commendable conduct in the 
Diet at Ratisbon, 283. Requested by Calvin to appear 
openly, ^75, 

Ministers of the jurisdiction of Geneva, Calvin's address to 
them, 222. And people their leading object, 250. 

Moderation and forbearance of Calvin, 24, 25, 46, 48, SS-^ 250. 

Modesty and diffidence predominant in Calvin, 5. 

Mosheim^ John Lawrence, ecclesiastical historian ; his un- 
candid treatment of Calvin's character, together with the 
reasons of it, 105. 


Olevianus^ Gasper, Calvin's letter to him, 596. 

OUvetan early acquaintance of Calvin with him, 3, 400, Xo. 3. 

Ordination^ Calvin's, 405, JVo, 10. 

Osiander^ Andrew, revives the dispute about the Eucharist, 


Perrin, Ammi, a demagogue of Geneva, 53, 57^ 382. Used 

his inlluence as Syndick to distract the Church, 142. 
Persecution^ the first step of it against Caivin, 6. 
Piety of Caivin discovered in early life, 2. 
Pighius^ Albert, his attack upon Calvin and his disgrace, 37, 

38, 407, Ab. 12. 
Plague in Geneva, 35. Designedly spread by those who 

nursed the sick, the corruptions. Sec. which succeeded it, 

43, 44. 
Poissy, conference between the Romish Prelates and the Re-. 

formed Ministers held at this place, 209. 


Poralisy a Syndick of Geneva, his death, 296. 

Predestination^ and free will, Mclancthon's letter on the sub- 
ject, 305. Calvin's letter on the subject, 370. 

Psaifnsy their versification, the practice of sini^ing them in 
measured verse first introduced, 402, JVo. 8. 


Ratzsbon, Diet of, the state of things when it was assembled 
by the Emperour and the character of its members, 275 — 280. 
Its members agree on original sin and free will, 282. Tlieir 
contention about the Eucharist, 283. Mclancthon and 
Bucer frame an ambiguous confession, 285. The Marquis 
of Brandenburg sent an Ambassador to Luther with the 
hope of obtaining opinions more favourable than those held 
by the Protestant members present, 287- Tlicy submit the 
whole to the imperial chamber, ib. The Protestant Prin- 
ces assembled petition Francis I. King of France in behalf 
of the Protestants, 293. 

Reformation, letter of Calvin on this subject to the Protector 
of England, 326. Letters on the subject, 350, 354, 358. 

JRenee, Princess, an account of her, 404, JVo. 9. 

Roscoe, William, author of the history of the Pontificate of 
Leo X. detected in his false statements respecting the 
Conduct of Calvin in the case of Servetus, 104 — 126. 

Roussel, Gerard and others, first preached the doctrines of 
the Reformation in France. 402, JVo. 7. 


Sacfamentarians, who they were, 253. 

Sadolet, James, bishop of Carpentras attempts, to recover the 
Church at Geneva to the Papal communion and interest, 
Calvin answers him, 25, 26. 

Schism to be avoided, 249, 256. 

Servetus, Michel, requested a public disputation with Calvin 
on the doctrine of the Trinity, 8. Ignorant of the Grcik 
language while he confidently quoted the writings of (iroc-k 
authors, 97. His principles stated, 92 — 104. Is complained 
of for his heresy, 78. Is condemned by the Syndicks and 
Senate of Geneva, 90. Not condemned by Calvin's influ- 
ence, 124, JVote. A commutation of his punishment de- 
sired by Calvin, 89, \\2, JVote, 133. His punishment ap- 
proved by Bullinger, 100, Melancthon, 101,374, '?>77, Peter 
Martyr, 101, Farel, 80, Bishop Hall, 129. 

Sin, God not the author of it, Calvin's opinion, 41, 42. 

Socinus, Loelius, his artful address to Calvin, 61. Faustus. 
adopted 5ind published his uncle's tenets, 62. Pcrscruted 


fuloptcd and published his uncle's tenets, 62. Persecuted 
to death Francis David, 126. 

Son^ death of Calvin's, 26. 

Storder^ John, a reclaimed Anabaptist, ib. 

Sijndicks^ chief Magistrates of Geneva of whom there were 
four, their character, and their conduct with regard to the 
ecclesiastical order and discipline, 24 — 27. Calvin's last 
address to them and the Senate, 218. Their judgment on 
Servetus, 90. 

Tonsure^ in the Church of Rome explained, 400, A''o. 2. 
Trent, Council convened there January 7, 1546, 55. 
Troilett^ an impostor who troubled the Church at Geneva, 50. 
His penitence and death, 74, 75. 


Valois, Margaret dc. Queen of Navarre, protectress of Cal- 
vin, 6, 7. Is undeceived by Calvin respecting the charac- 
ter of the Libertines, 43, 313, 401, Ao. 5. 

Vandellius, a leading conspirator against Geneva, 583. 

Union with Christ by faith and its effects, 378, 

Volse, Paul, a reclaimed Anabaptist, 26. 


Walachians, their revolt from the Turks, 27S. 

Waldenses, their sufferings, 44, 45. Retires to Bohemia and 

petition to be received into the Church of Geneva, 203. 
lVarburt07i, Bishop, in his notes on Pope's essay on criticism 

inconsistent in his censure of Luther, Calvin, Sec. as cruel, 

while he praises Erasmus, 106. 
Wife, Calvin's judgment respecting the properties of a good 
wife, 26. Death of Calvin's, 62 — 67. 
Will of Calvin, 2 1 4—2 1 7. 
Wolmary Melchior, an account of him, 401, Afo. 4. 


Youth, their education important in Calvin's view, 34. 


Zcbedeus, Andrew, his confession on his deathbed, 183. 

Zurich, the church in that place with its Professors and Pas- 
tors induce Calvin to return to Geneva, 28 — 30. Their let- 
ter to the Syndicks and Senate of Geneva respecting Ser- 
vetus and his heresies, 84. The Senate in that place 
strengthens the Church in Geneva in her discipline, 155, 1 56, 



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